Teaching Statistics with Fictional Anecdotes

Hershey H. Friedman
Department of Business and Economics
Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Noemi Halpern
Department of Mathematics
Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

David Salb
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York

ABSTRACT

The authors demonstrate that anecdotes are a simple, yet effective, way of communicating some major principles of statistics. Anecdotes are used to demonstrate various important statistical concepts including: the importance of obtaining a representative sample and achieving a high rate of response, the consequence of improper wording of questions, the usefulness of measures of dispersion, and why correlation does not prove causality.


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