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ERIC Number: ED458181
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Aug-24
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Writing in Statistics: Meaning Is Where You Find It.
Beins, Bernard C.
When students study the discipline of statistics, a domain that can be remote and abstract for them, it is critical that they understand what the numbers mean and how those numbers help people arrive at decisions. This paper presents different approaches that help students learn how researchers actually work with statistics and shows how students can develop skills by communicating statistical results to others. The paper proposes that writing about data enhances student learning. It outlines writing strategies to bring the domains of research and experience together. In the author/educator's classes, students use small data sets to provide descriptions of what the numbers tell them, interpreting the data with an eye to the importance of personal perspective and historical context in their conclusions. They assess larger and more complicated data sets and write essays about the results. The paper finds that these assignments allow students to (1) learn to translate numbers into comprehensible, nontechnical language; (2) show them how the same data set can provide data that could lead to conflicting interpretations; (3) help them learn how to identify appropriate uses of the data; (4) convince them that, although the numerical results of research may be incontrovertible, the meaning of those numbers emerges only when someone uses them to draw a conclusion; and (5) illustrate that the "truth" of the meaning of data is often dependent on perspective and historical context. Contains 3 notes, a figure, a table, 6 references, and a sample data set. (BT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A