Statistics education & general interest: free resources

The items available from this page are provided free to anyone who is struggling to understand (or explain!) statistical concepts. We regularly add items here, so please contact us if there is a topic you would like us to cover.

Glossary of statistical terms

Statisticians often use words to mean something rather different to the meanings which we generally give them in everday use ('significant' for example is very specific technical term) and much confusion arises. Use this glossary if in doubt. Click on a letter to bring up the definitions - for example, to find "median" click on "M".

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Discussion pieces

What is risk?
Considers the nature of risk and the problems we all have when making decisions about health scares reported in the press.

Conditional probability
Continuing the healthcare theme, this item explores conditional probability using the example of a patient who has tested positive for an illness: how likely is it that he actually has it, and how can one calculate this kind of problem?

Median and mean
In early April 2005 there was considerable debate in the media about whether 'average' incomes have gone up or down in the UK. The Institute for Fiscal Studies produced a report in which they stated that the mean 'real household income' fell by 0.2% over 2003/04 against the previous year. This sounds very authoritative, but it is worth pausing to consider if the mean is really the most appropriate measure.

Evening the odds
Handling problems in probability, using the Professor Roy Meadows case.

The prosecutor's fallacy
How probability can confuse in the law courts.

Clinical trials
Some of the general issues being discussed following a drugs trial which ended with six men on life support (March 2006).

The importance of n (sample size) in Statistics
Why a larger sample size will help you to uncover a significant difference.

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  Free resources:

  •   Statistics glossary
  •   What is risk?
  •   Conditional probability
  •   Median and mean
  •   Evening the odds
  •   The prosecutor's fallacy
  •   Clinical trials
  •   n - sample size

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