Questions tagged [teaching]

For questions about the teaching of probability and statistics, at any level.

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74
votes
29answers
335k views

Examples for teaching: Correlation does not mean causation

There is an old saying: "Correlation does not mean causation". When I teach, I tend to use the following standard examples to illustrate this point: number of storks and birth rate in Denmark; number ...
7
votes
1answer
290 views

Help explaining (offering intuition/examples of) the score function and fisher's information to students

Next week I will teach my students the score function and its variance (i.e.: fisher information). I am looking for way(s) to illustrate these concepts so to help my students understand them (and not ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Which statistical software is suitable for teaching an undergraduate introductory course of statistics in social sciences?

I am looking for a statistical software package which I can use in an introductory course of statistics for a social science study programme. The students have no prior knowledge of statistics and no ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

What is the best syllabus for an under-grad class in Statistics for engineer students?

I teach statistics to under-grad engineer students who major in Information Technology (IT). My students first learn a (prerequisite) course on probability where they learn combinatorics, different ...
134
votes
15answers
111k views

Intuitive explanation for dividing by $n-1$ when calculating standard deviation?

I was asked today in class why you divide the sum of square error by $n-1$ instead of with $n$, when calculating the standard deviation. I said I am not going to answer it in class (since I didn't ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

“t-tests are too fundamental for academia” [closed]

I just heard a PhD student claim: The $t$-test is really fundamental and nobody in academy is gonna do it. He added that these tests serve more as a beginning exercise in order to get an idea of ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

Defining the normal distribution

I am preparing some materials for an introduction to sample size calculation for life sciences graduate students with no or very limited previous statistical experience. Right at the start I will be ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

How do you calculate an exact two-tailed P-value using binomial distribution? [closed]

First, I will preface this question with my ulterior motive: I would like more evidence that the use of 19th and 20th century approximations play little to no pedagogic advantage in modern intro stats ...
1
vote
2answers
152 views

What is a very intuitive way to teach the Bayes formula to undergraduates?

I have to teach the Bayes formula to some undergraduates, in the form: $$ P(A|B) = \frac{P(A \cap B)}{P(B)} = \frac{P(B|A)P(A)}{P(B)} $$ I was wondering if anyone had any really thoughtful or ...
4
votes
2answers
234 views

What are the Fundamentals of Applied Statistics?

Would the knowledge of the following topics suffice for a crash course on fundamentals of applied statistics? Basics of Probability Descriptive Statistics Estimation Theory Hypothesis Testing The ...
2
votes
1answer
258 views

How can I create a Gaussian process?

I'm writing a short summary of GPR for my coworkers. I want to give them an intuition into what a Gaussian process is without mentioning distributions over functions. Can you suggest how I can ...
11
votes
2answers
534 views

Are there any “esoteric” statistic tests with very low power?

Background In computer science, mathematics, and sometimes in other fields, “esoteric” examples cannot only be entertaining, but helpful to illustrate certain concepts, for example: Bogosort and ...
2
votes
2answers
108 views

How can we best explain causality for the uninitiated?

How can we best explain causality in layman's terms? There seem to be two main types of causality. One is probabilistic causation, the other is called determinism in philosophic circles or just ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Explain Root Mean Square Error to non-technical audience

My company is in the process of switching equipment from one vendor to another. We measured several metrics from the existing and new equipment and compared the time series. The ideal is to have no ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Good text on Clinical Trials?

I'm an undergraduate statistics student looking for a good treatment of clinical trials analysis. The text should cover the fundamentals of experimental design, blocking, power analysis, latin squares ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Ideas for research projects: Causality, DAGs etc [closed]

I am looking for ideas for research projects to give my students in a module on causality and DAGs (third-year undergraduate and master level). I had a couple of ideas. For example, one could, for ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

Book/chapter/article recommendation for beginners level confirmatory factor analysis?

I am looking for a text that will help me provide explanations suited to undergraduate level. I've found that Andy Field's "Discovering Statistics Using..." series allowed me to pitch things at the ...
237
votes
11answers
165k views

How would you explain Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) to a layperson?

Maybe the concept, why it's used, and an example.
119
votes
27answers
36k views

Free statistical textbooks

Are there any free statistical textbooks available?
0
votes
0answers
24 views

How do you explain 'explained variance'?

What is the best definition of 'explained variance' from a teaching perspective? I quite like this one: "Explained variance (also called explained variation) is used to measure the discrepancy ...
4
votes
2answers
76 views

Teaching (very elementary) statistical modelling

I've been asked to contribute some lectures (or parts of lectures) to a course on "Mathematical Modelling", from a statistical perspective. This is to a rather mixed group of Mathematics ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Accounting Student taking Master in Stat, need your help regarding taking subjects

I had a Bachelor in Accounting and now I'm doing a Masters in Statistics. This is my first semester and I have to Choose at least 3 out of 6 offered subjects for this semester. These subjects Are: ...
114
votes
21answers
76k views

What's the difference between probability and statistics?

What's the difference between probability and statistics, and why are they studied together?
4
votes
3answers
103 views

Teaching a new, large topic: present in class or assign as homework first?

In spring 2019, I will be teaching a master's level course in applied statistics for students in economics and management. The main topics are linear regression, explanatory and confirmatory factor ...
52
votes
3answers
13k views

Why do we care so much about normally distributed error terms (and homoskedasticity) in linear regression when we don't have to?

I suppose I get frustrated every time I hear someone say that non-normality of residuals and /or heteroskedasticity violates OLS assumptions. To estimate parameters in an OLS model neither of these ...
8
votes
1answer
779 views

How to gently introduce epidemiologists/public health coworkers to advanced predictive modeling?

Coming from a social science and epidemiology background, my coworkers were trained on least squares regression, logistic regression, and survival analysis. They like to see 95% confidence intervals ...
2
votes
0answers
29 views

Master's-level Quantitative Methods / Statistics textbook for Management, Marketing, Economics students

What are some good textbooks for a master's (or upper undergraduate) level course in Quantitative methods / Statistics for students in Management, Marketing or Economics?
5
votes
2answers
99 views

How is this sampling called? (getting a “representative” sample set for teaching)

I know of random sampling and stratified sampling, but what I am not sure what is the name of the type of sampling I need: I wish to work-out an example with my students of simple correlation/...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Short online videos that could assist a lecture on statistics

When lecturing statistics, it can be useful to incorporate the occasional short video. My first thoughts included: Animations and visualisations of statistical concepts Stories regarding the ...
15
votes
3answers
10k views

How to best display graphically type II (beta) error, power and sample size?

I'm asked to write an introduction to statistics and I'm struggling how to graphically show the way p-value and power relate. I've come up with this graph: My question: Is there a better way of ...
3
votes
1answer
323 views

Understanding normal probability plots

I am a teacher that will be teaching about Normal Probability Plots. This topic is new to me and I would be grateful for any help. Essentially the specification for the course expects students to ...
3
votes
0answers
94 views

Instructive figure to explain Maximum Likelihood confidence bands / standard errors

I am trying to better understand and explain maximum likelihood estimation. To explain the intuition of many ML aspects I find it easiest to explain them graphically, like for example the ML-based ...
7
votes
1answer
136 views

Why start with measures of central tendency?

In teaching descriptive statistics, measures of central tendency come up early on, e.g. before measures of spread. For me it is natural enough to learn about central tendency, or location, of the data ...
1
vote
1answer
16 views

Parameter errors in linear least squares

I would like to help my (Chemistry) students understand the math behind linear regression.(1) The generally accepted approach for my discipline is to omit any use of calculus and introduce matrix ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

What are the seminal pictures for introductory statistics? [closed]

This question is in reference to introductory statistics or research methods classes where students are asked to learn the basics of statistical inference. Early when I started teaching statistics, I ...
32
votes
8answers
3k views

Should I teach Bayesian or frequentist statistics first?

I am helping my boys, currently in high school, understanding statistics, and I am considering beginning with some simple examples without disregarding some glimpses to theory. My goal would be to ...
20
votes
12answers
120k views

Real life examples of distributions with negative skewness

Inspired by "real-life examples of common distributions", I wonder what pedagogical examples people use to demonstrate negative skewness? There are many "canonical" examples of symmetric or normal ...
1
vote
1answer
510 views

What's an intuitive way to remember the difference between mediation and moderation?

In my experience these two terms frequently confuse students. For teaching purposes I am looking for some way to help students distinguish between them. One way might be to show that the statistical ...
15
votes
11answers
3k views

Examples of processes that are not Poisson?

I am looking for some good examples of situations that are ill-suited to model with a Poisson distribution, to help me explain the Poisson distribution to students. One commonly uses the number of ...
8
votes
4answers
209 views

Demonstration of central limit theorem

I teach basic (very) statistics to prisoners in a medium/high security prison and would like to demonstrate the Central Limit Theorem. The classroom has no resources beyond a white board. I can only ...
14
votes
8answers
32k views

Any suggestions for a good undergraduate introductory textbook to statistics?

I am hoping you can give me some suggestions. I am teaching in a very diverse (made of minority groups) college and the students are mostly Psychology majors. Most students are fresh from high school ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

How would you explain the relative importance of exploratory correlations for multiple regression models?

I am asking this from a pedagogic perspective:  ¿How do others explain (to their students or clients) the need to examine correlations between subsets of variables in multiple regression (MR) ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Teaching question: Good textbook for basic online statistics course

I will teach an online course on Intro Stats at an Economics Department of a non-flagship public university in the US. I want to cover descriptive stats, basic probability (with common discrete and ...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Teaching models from a distribution-centric perspective

I often read blogs from professors of statistics talking about how they prefer to teach models from a "distribution-centric" perspective rather than otherwise. However, I've never really been able to ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Teaching econometrics to a layman

I help a friend of mine to understand material in an econometrics course. This is also a good exercise for me since soon I will start as a TA. The challenge is that she does not have sufficient ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

How Can I teach someone “sampling from a given distribution” is hard?

For many people I know, they do not think sampling from a given distribution is a hard problem in general. For example, many software provide functions do to sample from normal distribution or uniform ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

What's wrong with this approach to computing power?

I've just been given an old set of lecture notes to look at. One of them contains the following question: if we are undertaking a paired $t$-test with a mean of differences $d=1$ and standard ...
0
votes
2answers
93 views

Is Bayes-Ball algorithm enough to argue that correlation can imply causality?

You always hear that correlation does not imply causation. But taking a Bayesian perspective, can one counterargue this statement? I was reading the paper linked below (Bayes-Ball argument), and it ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Simple real world examples for teaching Bayesian statistics?

I would like to find some "real world examples" for teaching Bayesian statistics. Bayesian statistics allows one to formally incorporate prior knowledge into an analysis. I would like to give ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Example of “real life” use of Bayesian inference on $\mu$ from a normal distribution?

A classic example for students, when teaching Bayesian statistics, is to make inference on the mean parameter $\mu$ of a normal distribution, when it has a prior normal distribution. I would like to ...