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need help with statistics/Data Analysis (urgent)





The-Nisk
Right, so i have to take that module as part of my maths course, needless to say anyone who has done anything similar knows what a load of bullshit it is - simple maths made look infinitelly complex by using unnecessaraly complex words by people who couldn't master a real science subject.

But anyway, if anyone could explain the following (in a clear, human language, i couldn't give a damn about the official definition - i just need to be able to use it. So don't post me link to wikipedia and other useless sites, I do know how to use google you know).

Here's the list of what i need to understand:
Quartiles - i have a notion of what it is, just need to be able to calculate it.
Standard deviation - no clue.
median - that's the middle data entry isn't it? yeah...
inter quartile range - the middle 50% of the data? no idea really...
Normal Model - that bell-end curve for natural distribution or whatever it is, have an idead, but a better explanation welcome. Also need to know how to use it in calculations etc.

The above are the most pressing topics, but I welcome a course overview Wink
Thanks!
Ankhanu
The-Nisk wrote:
anyone who has done anything similar knows what a load of bullshit it is - simple maths made look infinitelly complex by using unnecessaraly complex words by people who couldn't master a real science subject.

As someone who's gone through a undergraduate and graduate level biological studies... um, this statement is utterly ridiculous Razz Statistics is complex because it needs to be to attain a meaningful result... and it's absolutely necessary for any meaningful interpretation of data and understanding and identifying patterns. Really, that's all science is, the observation and explanation of patterns.

Stats, while not fun for most people, are absolutely necessary, an essential part of science... and many statistical methods used in science were developed by scientists to address their questions.

The-Nisk wrote:
But anyway, if anyone could explain the following (in a clear, human language, i couldn't give a damn about the official definition - i just need to be able to use it. So don't post me link to wikipedia and other useless sites, I do know how to use google you know).

You really should try [/i]thinking[/i] about these things you need to know; breaking down that sort of info into terms you can work with will really help you actually learn and understand them. I'm somewhat loathe to give you answers, as you really won't learn anything, especially given your very militant stance on learning the topic Razz

I encourage you to go over your texts and online sources again, and offer up your interpretations of the concepts you're having difficulty with... and we can offer up corrections and affirmations. This will be FAR more helpful to you.
Bikerman
Mik,
not a great way to get help. Given that ideally you want some help from a statistician then calling their speciality bull is hardly going to persuade them to spend time helping is it?

I must echo the comments of Ankhanu on this - statistics can be incredible complex and are vitally important.

Anyhoo...I'm not a statistician but I know good educational materials when I see them, so try :
http://www.khanacademy.org/
(look under the statistics section).

Quartiles :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartile

Standard Deviation :
http://www.easycalculation.com/statistics/learn-standard-deviation.php

Median - yes.

Interquartile range - see wiki or Khanacademy above

Normal model - practical demonstration
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks9HXLZw7tk
The-Nisk
Ankhanu wrote:
Statistics is complex because it needs to be to attain a meaningful result...

No. You misunderstood me, when I mentioned 'complexity' I was not reffering to complexity of the mathematics side of it, that is simple. I was pointing out that the language used in explanations is overly complex, for no reason what so ever. And while it is all nice and lovely when you are a raging statistics fan and care about 'definitions', I find the course a joke, which wastes my time with the said unnecessary language, when it can be broken down and effectively taught in about 3 hours.

Ankhanu wrote:
and it's absolutely necessary for any meaningful interpretation of data and understanding and identifying patterns. Really, that's all science is, the observation and explanation of patterns.

As mentioned above, I have no problem with statistics outside the uselessness of the language used to define it.

Ankhanu wrote:

Stats, while not fun for most people, are absolutely necessary, an essential part of science... and many statistical methods used in science were developed by scientists to address their questions.

Well good for the scientists, but I have a life. I do not orgasm over clever and precisely phrased maths definitions. They annoy me, as I have to waste time deciphiring the crap whats-his-name-scientist wrote, them people need to learn to communicate to people. Precise language does not mean "good communication".

Ankhanu wrote:

You really should try [/i]thinking[/i] about these things you need to know;

Statistics doesn't involve thinking on a level I consider actually "thinking", to me it's mostly common sense, but again - dressed up in useless language. One of the reasons I dislike it so much is because of it's simplicity that's walled behind the language barrier.

Ankhanu wrote:

breaking down that sort of info into terms you can work with will really help you actually learn and understand them. I'm somewhat loathe to give you answers, as you really won't learn anything, especially given your very militant stance on learning the topic Razz

That made no sense. I posted this topic to ask for a breakdown of those useless official definitions, so that I can save time. But you are telling me to go ahead and waste my time with the official definitions? Trust me, the principle behind statistics is no problem, the retarded way it's expressed is.

Ankhanu wrote:

I encourage you to go over your texts and online sources again, and offer up your interpretations of the concepts you're having difficulty with... and we can offer up corrections and affirmations. This will be FAR more helpful to you.

Just in caseI haven't emphasised this throughout the post - I have no problem with the concept, i had a notion of what it's about even before I started the course. My problem is clearing up the concept in my head, because as far as I'm concerned the official "explanation" of the said concept is the pinacle of bad communication and inefficiency.

Bikerman wrote:

not a great way to get help. Given that ideally you want some help from a statistician then calling their speciality bull is hardly going to persuade them to spend time helping is it?

True that, I tend to be too honest about my oppinions at times, especially if it's a bad one.
But I'd also say it's real mathematicians laughing at statisticians that inspired the later to spice up their language. Statistics is important, but it is made too big a deal of for something so simple at the core.

Thank you for the resources however, the only resource I have are the lecture notes, and they are useless. I shall check them out when I have time.
Bikerman
No, it really isn't simple at the core - that was my point.
Some of the best paid jobs in the world are in statistical analysis - you may have heard of 'quants'? They are mathematical analysts who work in the city.
Some of them have been blamed for the current crisis, because they developed the models which are used to spread risk on loans like mortgages - which is, many say, where the problems started.
Nevertheless, this attracts the cream of physics and maths graduates from all over the world and 'simple' it most certainly is NOT.
Ankhanu
Language can be confusing, but, it is necessary for clarity. For example, the easy concept of "average" seems simple enough... but it's not precise enough to convey meaning. Generally, when referring to an average, it's referencing the "mean" of a data set (the sum of all values divided by the quantity of values)... however it also can refer to the "median" (midpoint) or "mode" (most common value). While it's possible for the mean, median and mode to all be the same value, they often are not, and have different applications. If you simply state the "average", you're conveying some meaning, but you're also imparting some confusion as to exactly what you're referring to, and the implications CAN be serious from an analytical standpoint.

Arcane language can be a stumbling block... I know it has been and continues to be so for me and my forays into statistics, but it's also important to understand what the words mean and why they're different.

Good communication means removing ambiguity. Unfortunately, when one is unfamiliar with the language there is still ambiguity through omission. At least with some education, ambiguity through omission can be corrected.
Bikerman
I'd say it was even worse that this. I've known politicians (I think deliberately) use different averages to support a point - selecting mean mode or median as required. Since most people immediately associate average with mean then this can be very effective, if dishonest, in debate.

Also, the fact that many people have no 'feel' for statistics allows lottery and gambling purveyors to rake in the money, allows newspapers to run scare stories by the ream (eg "Risk of cancer DOUBLED from eating <substitute as required>. My next question is 'what was the original risk?' followed by another half-dozen questions in succession before I even consider what it means - most people don't get that far.)
In short a lack of feel for stats allows every charlatan, con-merchant and bent politician to pull the wool over people's eyes without actually telling lies....
slashnburn99
Great website Bikerman

http://www.khanacademy.org/

will be first call for may a problem
Voodoocat
Bikerman's statement is exactly why all high school students must learn basic statistics

Quote:
In short a lack of feel for stats allows every charlatan, con-merchant and bent politician to pull the wool over people's eyes without actually telling lies....


The public is fed a steady stream of "facts" by politicians and ad men in an effort to sway the population to support their cause or buy their product. Without a basic understanding of statistics, you are easy prey

Nisk- this is actually one of the areas of math that an average citizen will frequently use, unlike conic sections!
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