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Inaugural Lecture

Statistical thinking: the good, the bad and the ugly

Kevin McConway
This event took place on 14th June 2012
Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Walton Hall Campus, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Statistics is a strange discipline. Allegedly there are lies, damned lies and statistics, but politicians and pundits are criticised if they have no numerical data to back up their arguments. Statistics are reputedly boring, but if that’s true, why are newspapers and other media so full of them? Many people think that statistics is about providing firm, objective answers that are either right or wrong, but actually one of the main goals of statistics is to cope with uncertainty, not certainty. In many disciplines, one cannot get research published without including statistical analysis, but some of the standard analytic methods, particularly significance testing, are coming under increasing criticism, from statisticians as well as users of statistics. Is this really a respectable subject for an academic to work in? The lecture will explain why it is, and why we need more of it. This event is not live but will be available later as a replay

Click below to play the event (72 minutes)

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