Home Reference & Education Confession of a Statistics Hater

Confession of a Statistics Hater


I recently completed a math test and as I was making my way through the sixty plus problems which appeared on the screen, I chanced to encounter one of the questions which requested information on the word “median”. This made me recall a previous course in statistics, which I had taken several years ago. I can recall how I really hated that course and could not for the life of me understand why anyone would have to use the principles explained in it. It took a while before the rationale for learning statistics sink in. I present this rant to those students who are required by their schools to complete a course in statistical arguments. Hopefully it helps explain why we use this strange math method at all.

During this rant, I would like to reiterate a few notes on several tools which are useful in creating and eventually analyzing various bits of data. We are all familiar with the term average and the simple process which is used to figure these data elements. The problem is that not all interpretations of the word average have similar meanings and as a result confusion usually reveals its ugly head. To remedy this misunderstanding, we have three effective words which we can use to convey a similar but more concise meaning. They are mean, median, and mode. The key to understanding these concepts lies in how we employ these measurements in our daily use. We are often shown various formulas and procedures necessary to complete the calculations to their correct conclusions along with directions on how to compare the three measurements properly but at this time let’s just skim the surface.

Let’s for a moment cover the distribution characteristics of any available data. These data traits included modes which involve the variants of symmetry and skewed variations. This data integrated into our conclusions is identified as smooth curves in place of the actual data sets usually employed. These qualities approximate the true distribution. We can also at this time review our veritable understanding about the right and left skewed data which revealed specific graphic styles relating to the data in question. That segment of our discussion would likely conclude with instructions in the measurement of variations. Finally, it would behoove us to become versed in how to calculate the standard deviations of any data set using the standard deviation formula.

If we are actively involved in the principles of statistics often open up various opportunities towards taking advantage of the information and principles which are present in any study of data. In this context, we are afforded several excellent examples of such use. A perfect example of this would be determining the mean SAT scores from a specific sampling of students and then comparing our own personal score with the mean to see exactly where we would stand. The same process could be applied to the GRE scores as well, since specialized scores are required by certain graduate schools for admission. The use of our statistical information would also be useful to predict school test scores based upon the national standardized tests. These results would provide us with a mean score along with standard deviations from which we can then judge our performance on the tests.

Finally, we can attain justification for our statistical knowledge in a host of other ways. If your job involves retail sales as mine occasionally does (I sell survival CDs part time) than the principles being taught could tell me what CDs are the most popular in my complete line of selections. To accomplish this I would begin by maintaining records on which CDs are sold daily for one complete month. Next, I would draft up a graph such as a bar graph to see which ones I have sold the most of.

You won’t become a math whiz by reading this article and it really wasn’t the intent that I had in mind. I just thought that you might perhaps gain some new insight and understanding as to why we study the statistics.

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My name is Joseph Parish. I am also known as "Word Writer", a freelance writer who specializes in a host of subjects from survival and emergency actions to gardening. Over the years, I have found that many people involved in the subject of survival claim an attraction towards the subject they practice. A few of them have really meant it. Fewer still have put their life into it and shown their true feelings about the subject. I attended the American Public University, specializing in Emergency Management and Terrorism. I have written one book on terrorism entitled “The Mind of a Terrorist”, and it is available on Amazon. I was brought up in southern New Jersey and attended school in the Millville area, graduating from the Millville Senor High school in 1966. By the time I graduated, I was hooked upon entering the United States Air Force. I was determined to enter the military and pursue a field of study in the area of electronics. I initially attended a course in Aircraft Radio Repair at Kessler Air Force Base in Mississippi. Later, I was trained as a Ground Radio Repairman. Little did I realize that this course of training would eventually lead him into the Forward Air Control Career field. I remained in the military for 21 years, at which time I visited many foreign countries as well as just about all 50 states in America. In 1987, I decided that it was time to get out of the military and retire from active duty. It was at this time that I made a quantum career leap; combining my, military electronics training with my love of Aircraft, I became employed by TRW Aerospace in Redondo Beach California. The company was involved in developing and manufacturing various space craft units and satellites for the government. I will readily admit that the company was one of the greatest places I had ever worked, and really hated to leave the company, but I decided to depart the area. I have developed many interesting and cherished friendships while learning survival techniques, particularly those that dealt with earthquakes. Unfortunately, the area was not the best place to bring up children in and upon the conclusion of my contract with TRW, I returned to the east coast. Upon my return to the New Jersey area, I began teaching school for several years. I generally taught Junior High subjects, such as science and math. After getting involved in the teaching of young minds, I was informed that a close relative in Florida was ill and required help. Without hesitation, I headed to the sunshine state to assist. While in Florida I was employed as an RF Amplifier Engineer. Eventually the crisis which had brought me to Florida was over, and I was once again heading back up north, only this time to the state of Delaware. Here I worked as a mainframe computer operator for a major chicken producer until I decided that it was time for me to permanently retire. I decided to take a slightly different route. I was attracted to the topic of survival because of my love for the military and my field of work while I was active duty. When 9-11 took place in America, there was a rise in the popularity of survival preparations which led to both government and private citizens being concerned about survival. These people and agencies had the freedom to select the various topics relating to the subject and the followers began to flock to them because of their knowledge and values. By the end of 2007, various internet websites began cropping up relating to survival. One such website was mine. Being a part-time newspaper reporter in New Jersey years ago, I would create my own form of written articles. My first exposure to "survival" came as an Air Force Forward Air Controller (ROMAD) during my 21 years in the military. I have served as a unit Safety NCO, Emergency Preparedness NCO and other related duties. Some of my safety related articles had been published in the Air Force Safety Manual. Over the years I have taken courses ranging from FEMA sponsor classes to “Aircraft aviation” courses in my efforts to become more informed on survival techniques and procedures. I am a firm believer that you must be ready for any sort of emergency and above all you simply cannot rely upon the government to help you during times of crisis. I am a follower of the philosophy that you should continue to learn as much as you possibly can and believe that when you stop learning you are simply dead. I am currently an active volunteer in the Delaware Medical Reserve Corp, participating in the Delaware Bat Monitoring Program and the Terrapin Rescue. I previously was a Red Cross volunteer working with the Emergency Management Section of the organization. My hobby is gardening and I have my own greenhouse. I love experimenting with the propagation of plants. Many of my articles center around the topic of gardening. I look forward to accepting assignments from potential clients. Feel free to contact me at (302) 404-5976.


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