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Against All Odds: Inside Statistics
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1.

What Is Statistics?

Statistics is the art and science of gathering, organizing, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data. Without rudimentary knowledge of how it works, people are ill-equipped to make informed judgments and evaluations of a wide variety of things encountered in daily life.
Online
2015; 2013
2.

Stemplots

As a first step in visualizing data, this film focuses on the use of stem plots to understand raw data. The U.S. Army experienced an equipment shortage and as a result used statistics to ensure soldiers are properly outfitted for war. Data from soldiers' foot measurements and Toyota's fuel efficient vehicles are transformed in stem plots.
Online
2015; 2013
3.

Histograms and Distributions

Meteorologists use histograms to map when lightning strikes. This visualization technique helps them understand the data in new ways.
Online
2015; 2013
4.

Measures of Center

It's helpful to know the center of a distribution, which is what the clerical workers in Colorado Springs found out in the 1980s when they campaigned for comparable wages for comparable work. Mean and median are two different ways to describe the center.
Online
2015; 2013
5.

Boxplots

Using the example of hot dog calorie counts, boxplots help us to visualize the five-number summary and make comparisons between different types of frankfurters.
Online
2015; 2013
6.

Standard Deviation

How can we compare sales at two franchises in the Wahoo's taco restaurant chain? Standard deviation helps quantify the variability in sales.
Online
2015; 2013
7.

Normal Curves

A nature preserve that's tracked bird migrations through New England for decades records tons of bird-related data; everything from wingspan measurements to arrival dates provides examples of normal distributions.
Online
2015; 2013
8.

Normal Calculations

Visit the Boston Beanstalks club for tall people. Height is normally distributed and we can use membership cutoffs and population data to calculate z-scores.
Online
2015; 2013
9.

Checking Assumptions of Normality

Production at Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs provides a number of distributions that look normal, but are they?
Online
2015; 2013
10.

Scatterplots

Plotting annual numbers of Florida powerboat registrations and manatee killings suggests an uncomfortable relationship for the marine mammals.
Online
2015; 2013
11.

Fitting Lines to Data

Plotting annual measurements of winter snowpack in the Colorado Rockies in a scatterplot lets resource managers draw a regression line that helps them forecast water availability.
Online
2015; 2013
12.

Correlation

Twin studies track how similar identical and fraternal twins are on various characteristics, even if they don't grow up together. Correlation lets researchers put a number on it.
Online
2015; 2013
13.

Two-Way Tables

One city surveyed the happiness of its residents. Two-way tables help organize the data and tease out relationships between happiness levels and opinions about aspects of the city itself.
Online
2015; 2013
14.

The Question of Causation

This historical story describes how researchers untangled the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
Online
2015; 2013
15.

Designing Experiments

We move beyond observational studies, like one of marine life in the remote Line Islands, to designing experiments that manipulate various subject groups, as in the case of a medical study about osteoarthritis treatments.
Online
2015; 2013
16.

Census and Sampling

The U.S. attempts to count every resident every ten years. Statisticians use sampling from a population as an alternative to a complete count, as seen at a potato chip factory.
Online
2015; 2013
17.

Samples and Surveys

A visit to the University of New Hampshire Survey Center illustrates how pollsters create accurate surveys. They can then use details from their sample to make inferences about a whole population.
Online
2015; 2013
18.

Introduction to Probability

Probability is the mathematics of chance behavior - and can help predict events such as the daily weather, or whether an asteroid will collide with Earth.
Online
2015; 2013
19.

Probability Models

Casinos are as well versed in probability as statisticians. Probability models help them maintain the house advantage over gamblers.
Online
2015; 2013
20.

Random Variables

The Challenger space shuttle disaster was blamed on faulty O-rings. How can probability calculations on random variables help predict the chances of this kind of failure?
Online
2015; 2013