Blog

Dec
2019

2019 Statistics of the Year: 58% and 72.6 years

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) has just announced the 2019 winners of its annual Statistics of the Year competition. One of the key goals of the RSS is for statistics to be used effectively in the public interest, providing evidence for the good of society. It is great to see bona fide statistics generating interest and debate.

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Nov
2019

Do School Performance Tables Really Measure School Performance?

Research published recently by the University of Bristol shows that analysis of school performance results change when pupils' background characteristics are taken into account. Commenting on the study, the Northern Powerhouse says that "league tables punish and reward the wrong schools". This study supports our findings from a previous blog, but also illustrates the importance of carefully considering what is included in a statistical model.

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Oct
2019

Approaches to Model Validation

Part of the expertise involved in a useful piece of analysis is the ability to perform model validation. Model validation gives us a way to tell how useful our model is. Can we can trust what it tells us in terms of its predictions and its interpretation?

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Sep
2019

Assessing Questionnaire Validity

Questionnaire surveys are measurement instruments. While scientific measurement instruments measure physical properties like velocity or weight, questionnaire surveys often measure respondents' self-reported attitudes, opinions or behaviours. As with scientific measurement instruments, two important qualities of surveys are consistency and accuracy. These are assessed by considering the survey’s reliability and validity - in this blog we consider validity.

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Aug
2019

Embracing Uncertainty

There is currently much debate amongst professional statisticians on the topic of ‘statistical significance’ and the use of p-values. In this blog we discuss the risks in the over-use of and over-reliance on statistical significance testing, and the benefits in embracing uncertainty.

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Jul
2019

Data Visualisation with R’s ggplot2 Package

Google, Pfizer, Lloyds of London and Shell all use R to analyse and present their data. More recently, the BBC News’ Visual and Data Journalism team have also moved to using R’s ggplot2 package for their production-ready graphics for the BBC News website.

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