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<<October 2016>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: statistics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 125
1. Measuring up

My first degree was in mathematics, where I specialised in mathematical physics. That meant studying notions of mass, weight, length, time, and so on. After that, I took a master’s and a PhD in statistics. Those eventually led to me spending 11 years working at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, where the central disciplines were medicine and psychology. Like physics, both medicine and psychology are based on measurements.

The post Measuring up appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Why are Americans addicted to polls?

Before going into battle, Roman generals would donate a goat to their favorite god and ask their neighborhood temple priest to interpret a pile of pigeon poop to predict if they would take down the Greeks over on the next island. Americans in the nineteenth century had fortune tellers read their hands read and phrenologists check out the bumps on their heads. Statistics came along by the late 1800s, then “scientific polls” which did something similar.

The post Why are Americans addicted to polls? appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Misinterpretation and misuse of P values

In 2011, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Matrixx Initiatives Inc. v. Siracusano that investors could sue a drug company for failing to report adverse drug effects—even though they were not statistically significant. Describing the case in the Wall Street Journal, Carl Bialik wrote, “A group of mathematicians has been trying for years to have a core statistical concept debunked.

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4. Favorites

Each year, as school comes to a close, I like to run some statistics to see how our collection is being used.  I run reports for the top 50 check outs of the school year, and then the top 10 based on format. It would come as no surprise to anyone who has spent any time at my school that graphic novels rule the day.  With 5 active comic book clubs, the format is beloved.  We do have some straight fiction and non-fiction in the mix as well.

Without further ado, here are some of the top 50 with the audience of tweens in mind!

Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer Holm

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson

A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz

Auggie and Me, by R.J. Palacio

So You Want to Be a Jedi, by Adam Gidwitz

The Apothecary, by Maile Meloy

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

I'd love to know what your students/patrons loved this year!

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5. Earth’s climate: a complex system with mysteries abound

We are living with a climate system undergoing significant changes. Scientists have established a critical mass of facts and have quantified them to a degree sufficient to support international action to mitigate against drastic change and adapt to committed climate shifts. The primary example being the relation between increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and the extent of warming in the future.

The post Earth’s climate: a complex system with mysteries abound appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Better medical research for longer, healthier lives

When I started my career as a medical statistician in September 1972, medical research was very different from now. In that month, the Lancet and the British Medical Journal published 61 research reports which used individual participant data, excluding case reports and animal studies. The median sample size was 36 people. In July 2010, I had another look.

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7. Collecting and evaluating data on social programs

On 31 December 2014, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution wrote a compelling op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled, “Social Programs That Work.” Haskins shared the need for our nation to support evidence-based social programs and abandon those that show small or un-enduring effects – a wise idea.

The post Collecting and evaluating data on social programs appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Demo-Graphics: LOTS more info on who buys comics

18uvk5lcp7162jpg Demo Graphics: LOTS more info on who buys comics
Brett Schenker is pressing onwards with his Facebook research into comics likers, who they are what they buy and what they do. While his gender based research continues to be a benchmark, this time out he has a lot of trends on education, employment and so on.

Compared to the general Facebook populace, comic fans are much more likely to be “single,” “in a relationship,” or “engaged.” They are much less likely to be “married.” As far as education, they are slightly more likely to be college educated. Take the above and we’re looking for younger college educated individuals.

Also of note, what else comics readers like:
2015 02 02 1434 Demo Graphics: LOTS more info on who buys comics

That’s just a sample. Hit the link for the whole thing. Brett tells me that some racial breakdowns should be available soon and that should prove to be fascinating as well.

7 Comments on Demo-Graphics: LOTS more info on who buys comics, last added: 2/3/2015
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9. When the Publishing Industry Looks at Itself in the Mirror, Does It Like What It Sees?

Late last week, Publishers Weekly released its 2014 Salary Survey. While many of the findings were what you would expect—i.e., overwhelmingly white, female employees working longer hours than the year before and with a little more pay—they still manage to leave you feeling, well… a bit disappointed.

Cue Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and read on.

Let’s start with the (kind of) good news: 85% of respondents are at least somewhat satisfied with their jobs. We’ve also seem to have (modestly) overcome a fear of total sector collapse, with 54% of us reporting we are very or extremely confident in the industry’s future. (more…)

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10. Millennial​s: Libraries Brightest Hope?

1101130520_600Millennials tend to get a bum rap. Remember that Time magazine cover that painted them as “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents?”

They’re the ME ME ME generation, the cover reads, but then boldly proclaims “why they’ll save us all.”

Yes the cover girl may have been pictured with an iPhone in her hand, but chances are she had a library card in her back pocket.

Could libraries be among the first of the Millennials heroic conquests?

According to a new report from the Pew Research Center Internet Project the answer is a hopeful perhaps. (more…)

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11. 88% of Americans Under 30 Have Read a Book in the Last Year: Pew Research

pewlogoEighty-eight percent of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, which is more than older Americans, according to a new report form Pew Research. The report revealed that 79 percent of Americans 30 and older had read a book in the last year.

The research investigated how young Americans are using libraries. The report revealed that millennials are just as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past year. The report also found that this group is more likely to have used a library website in the past year than older Americans. While millennials admit to knowing where their local library is, many reported that they are unfamiliar with all of the services the library offers.

Here is more from the report: “Among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so. Some 36% of younger Americans used a library website in that time frame, compared with 28% of those 30 and older.”


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12. Publishing Salaries Up 2.8% in 2013: Publishers Weekly

Publishing salaries increased 2.8 percent in 2013, according to a new study from Publishers Weekly.

The increase in salary is consistent with the rise in salaries between 2012 and 2013, which also rose 2.8 percent on average.

Here is more from Publishers Weekly: “The salary increase in 2013 was held down to some degree by the number of employees who received no raise in 2013—19% said their pay was flat in the year. One-quarter of employees said they received a raise of between 2.0% and 2.9% in 2013, while another 20% reported a raise of between 3.0% and 3.9%. Overall, 74% of employees received a raise under 4% in 2013.”

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13. Digital Textbooks Are Evolving College Students Learning Experiences: BISG Report

Digital textbooks are changing the way that college students obtain books and the way that courses are structured, according to BISG’s fourth annual report Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education, Volume 4,

The research tracks and analyzes how students and faculty members obtain, consumer and teach educational content in multiple media formats. According to the report, students usage of textbooks is declining slightly while online study guide usage is slowly gaining momentum. In addition, students revealed that they are always on the hunt for low cost and free ways to get course materials, from scanning copies of their friends’ books to downloading pirated copies of textbooks illegally.

Here is more from the press release: “Instructors report much higher levels of assigned textbooks than do students, while the percentage of students who actually purchase their books is lower still, perhaps as students ultimately are the ones to decide whether the value of a ‘required’ textbook justifies the cost.”

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14. Libraries Are Challenged by eBook Business Model: Study

While more libraries in the U.S. are buying and distributing eBooks to patrons, the business model still needs to be worked out,  according to a new study by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).

Unlike the print book business model, in which libraries buy a certain amount of books for a set price and distribute those texts widely, most digital content is licensed with specific conditions about when and where it can be distributed. According to the report, libraries are struggling with “an inability to guarantee library user access to otherwise commercially available eBooks with reasonable pricing and acceptable use conditions.”

Here is more from the report:

…libraries continue to have to deal with imposed and inflexible terms and conditions, some of which impede legislated copyright exceptions. As a result, efforts are underway in university libraries to retain the right to interlibrary loan through piloting controlled access to researchers outside the institution with the content licence. Such pilots have sought publisher consent.


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15. Study Claims That Reading Harry Potter Makes Kids More Gay Friendly

Reading Harry Potter books can make kids more gay friendly argues a new paper by Italian researchers, published online recently in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

New York has the scoop: “In one study, researchers gave high school kids in Northern Italy two questionnaires: one asked about the books they’d read (both Potter and non-Potter) and the other was meant to gauge their attitudes toward gay people. As it turns out, the kids who were bigger Potterphiles — and who identified with the eponymous character — were also more likely to have positive feelings toward gay individuals.”

New York points out that outside factors could also be at play. For instance, Harry Potter readers could come from more liberal families since some religious groups have criticized the series.

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16. E-Book Sales Statistics Every Author Needs to Know Before Signing a Book Deal

This month I read one of the best reports on e-publishi […]

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17. Only 17% of Parents Say Reading is Top Priority This Summer: Study

Only 17 percent of parents say reading is a top summer priority. This depressing news is according to a new survey from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s. Harris Interactive surveyed more than 1,000 parents with children ages 5-11 online in April to come to this conclusion.

The research also found that kids spend almost three times as many hours a week watching TV or playing video games as they do reading in the summer months. In fact, kids spend an average 17.4 hours a week watching TV or playing video games and only 5.9 hours a week on average reading. The study did reveal that parents who emphasize reading are twice as likely to have a child that reads every day. For those kids that do read, the research found that 83 percent prefer print books to eBooks.

To help promote summer reading and literacy in general, Macy’s and RIF have launched their 11th annual Be Book Smart campaign today. The effort encourages Macy’s customers to donate $3 at any Macy’s store register which will help fund children’s literacy efforts. Shoppers that do so will get $10 off a purchase of $30 or more. The campaign runs through July 13.

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18. The Self-Published Book Market Grew 79% in the UK in 2013: Nielsen

Self-publishing is taking off in the UK. In fact, the self-publishing market grew by 79 percent in 2013 in the UK, according to new research presented by Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book, at the Literary Consultancy conference this morning in London. The Guardian has the scoop: "With print sales falling by 10% last year, and book purchasing as a whole down 4%, ebook sales continue to grow, according to Nielsen's comprehensive tracking of book purchases, up 20% in the UK in 2013, with 80m ebooks bought by UK consumers, to a value of £300m. But it is the DIY market which is showing the most eye-watering growth, up 79% to 18m self-published titles purchased, worth £59m, according to the statistics released on Friday." While self-published books are on a rising trajectory, they still only represent a small portion of the overall publishing market in the UK.  In fact, according to the report, this portion of the market only accounts for 5 percent of the total books bought and only 3 percent of the money spent on books last year. However Nielsen expects these numbers to continue to grow.    

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19. Author Website Tech: Statistics

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma

by Darcy Pattison

Giveaway ends March 21, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

Track the Growth of Your Author Website

WWW under construction building website

You’ve gone to a lot of trouble to set up a website. Don’t you want to know how many visitors the site gets? You can find out this and much more by the use of a statistics and analytical package. And fortunately, WordPress makes this easy with a couple plugins.

Statcounter. Statcounter is a simple, easy to understand statistics and analytics package that records information in real time. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to see what traffic is like today. I like this one because of its simplicity. First search Plugins/AddNew/Statcounter. Install and activate the plugin. Go to Statcounter.com and set up an account. Follow their instructions for configuring the plugin with your account information. Sit back and watch the numbers roll in!

Besides general numbers, I especially like to look at the Visitor Paths.This tells me what websites a visitor sees in what order. And I love to look at the Recent Visitor Map, which shows the location of your visitors. Or, look at Country/State/City/ISP. Today (the day I wrote this post) 62.5% of my visitors were from the US, and people from 35 different countries visited this site. Notice that there are NO personally identifiable bits of information here, so the Privacy Policy is still accurate.

Note that I have a free account, which means: Each projects comes with lifetime summary stats as well as a free log size of 500, i.e. a detailed analysis of the last 500 pageloads on your website. When your log is full, it continues to operate; the oldest entry is replaced with the newest entry that comes in. So, that number (62.5% of recent visitors are from the US) only refers to the last 500 visitors to my site. Statcounter is real time and as the globe turns, you can see the progress of daylight across the globe by looking at your visitors locations! Cool, huh?a

Location of visitors to Fiction Notes

Location of visitors to Fiction Notes. Click to enlarge.

Google Analytics. Another common option for website statistics is Google Analytics, and it’s a free powerhouse. You should set this up, but it might take a year or two to learn the ins and outs; in fact, I’m still learning. Yes, of course, there are WordPress Plugins for this. Search Plugins/AddNew/Google Analytics to find a couple dozen plugins. Some will only add in the required code, but some add bells and whistles. Try out a couple until you find something you’re comfortable with. Sign up with Google Analytics and follow their directions and tutorials to get everything set up.

Do you need both stat programs? Here’s the dirty little secret about stat programs: they never agree. Your CPanel may be set up with server stats, which will differ from both of these programs. Generally, they will be close, but there are all sorts of reasons why they may not agree. When I set up my account seven years ago, Statcounter was the only program that recorded information in real time; Google Analytics only added that feature recently. I could probably go with just Google Analytics, but it’s so complicated–complete and wonderful, but complicated–that I still stick with Statcounter for simplicity. When I really need to dig into stats, though, to figure out something about my traffic, I rely on Google Analytics. For me, it’s a win-win to use both. But you don’t have to! There are many other stat programs, too, so find what works best for your website and your needs.

The best thing about stats? You can track the growth of your website from just a few visitors the first month to that first exciting day of 100 visitors and onward and upward to 1000 a day or more.

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20. WordPress.com by the Numbers: The March Hot List

Another month is in the books! The WordPress.com community made March a month to remember with an avalanche of great achievements. Here's a look at some of the highlights.

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21. Print Textbooks Lead to Higher Reading Comprehension Than Digital: Study

ipad304Digital textbooks may not be as powerful of learning tools as print textbooks. According to new research from West Chester University professors Heather Ruetschlin Schugar and Jordan T. Schugar, when middle school students were given the same reading assignment in print versus digital, the readers’ comprehension was higher when they read print books than when they read eBooks.

The professors presented their findings at the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia. The report suggests that enhancements in eBooks such as games and activities actually take away from reading comprehension.

The New York Times has more: “Such flourishes can interrupt the fluency of children’s reading and cause their comprehension to fragment, the authors found. They can also lead children to spend less time reading over all: One study cited by Ms. Smith and the Schugars reported that children spent 43 percent of their e-book engagement time playing games embedded in the e-books rather than reading the text.”

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22. Statistics and big data


By David J. Hand

Nowadays it appears impossible to open a newspaper or switch on the television without hearing about “big data”. Big data, it sometimes seems, will provide answers to all the world’s problems. Management consulting company McKinsey, for example, promises “a tremendous wave of innovation, productivity, and growth … all driven by big data”.

An alien observer visiting the Earth might think it represents a major scientific breakthrough. Google Trends shows references to the phrase bobbing along at about one per week until 2011, at which point there began a dramatic, steep, and almost linear increase in references to the phrase. It’s as if no one had thought of it until 2011. Which is odd because data mining, the technology of extracting valuable, useful, or interesting information from large data sets, has been around for some 20 years. And statistics, which lies at the heart of all of this, has been around as a formal discipline for a century or more.

Or perhaps it’s not so odd. If you look back to the beginning of data mining, you find a very similar media enthusiasm for the advances it was going to bring, the breakthroughs in understanding, the sudden discoveries, the deep insights. In fact it almost looks as if we have been here before. All of this leads one to suspect that there’s less to the big data enthusiasm than meets the eye. That it’s not so much a sudden change in our technical abilities as a sudden media recognition of what data scientists, and especially statisticians, are capable.

Of course, I’m not saying that the increasing size of data sets does not lead to promising new opportunities – though I would question whether it’s the “large” that really matters as much as the novelty of the data sets. The tremendous economic impact of GPS data (estimated to be $150-270bn per year), retail transaction data, or genomic and bioinformatics data arise not from the size of these data sets, but from the fact that they provide new kinds of information. And while it’s true that a massive mountain of data needed to be explored to detect the Higgs boson, the core aspect was the nature of the data rather than its amount.

Moreover, if I’m honest, I also have to admit that it’s not solely statistics which leads to the extraction of value from these massive data sets. Often it’s a combination of statistical inferential methods (e.g. determining an accurate geographical location from satellite signals) along with data manipulation algorithms for search, matching, sorting and so on. How these two aspects are balanced depends on the particular application. Locating a shop which stocks that out of print book is less of an inferential statistical problem and more of a search issue. Determining the riskiness of a company seeking a loan owes little to search but much to statistics.

Diagram of Total Information Awareness system designed by the Information Awareness Office

Diagram of Total Information Awareness system designed by the Information Awareness Office

Some time after the phrase “data mining” hit the media, it suffered a backlash. Predictably enough, much of this was based around privacy concerns. A paradigmatic illustration was the Total Information Awareness project in the United States. Its basic aim was to search for suspicious behaviour patterns within vast amounts of personal data, to identify individuals likely to commit crimes, especially terrorist offences. It included data on web browsing, credit card transactions, driving licences, court records, passport details, and so on. After concerns were raised, it was suspended in 2003 (though it is claimed that the software continued to be used by various agencies). As will be evident from recent events, concerns about the security agencies monitoring of the public continues.

The key question is whether proponents of the huge potential of big data and its allied notion of open data are learning from the past. Recent media concern in the UK about merging of family doctor records with hospital records, leading to a six-month delay in the launch of the project, illustrates the danger. Properly informed debate about the promise and the risks is vital.

Technology is amoral — neither intrinsically moral nor immoral. Morality lies in the hands of those who wield it. This is as true of big data technology as it is of nuclear technology and biotechnology. It is abundantly clear — if only from the examples we have already seen — that massive data sets do hold substantial promise for enhancing the well-being of mankind, but we must be aware of the risks. A suitable balance must be struck.

It’s also important to note that the mere existence of huge data files is of itself of no benefit to anyone. For these data sets to be beneficial, it’s necessary to be able to use the data to build models, to estimate effect sizes, to determine if an observed effect should be regarded as mere chance variation, to be sure it’s not a data quality issue, and so on. That is, statistical skills are critical to making use of the big data resources. In just the same way that vast underground oil reserves were useless without the technology to turn them into motive power, so the vast collections of data are useless without the technology to analyse them. Or, as I sometimes put it, people don’t want data, what they want are answers. And statistics provides the tools for finding those answers.

David J. Hand is Professor of Statistics at Imperial College, London and author of Statistics: A Very Short Introduction

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Image credit: Diagram of Total Information Awareness system designed by the Information Awareness Office. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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23. Less Kids Are Reading For Fun: Common Sense Media Study

Less American children are reading for pleasure than they have in the past, according to a new report from Common Sense Media. The research revealed that the number of nine-year-old kids that read for pleasure once or more per week went from 81 percent in 1984 to 76 percent in 2013. The numbers are worse for older kids. Only about a third of 13-year-olds reported reading for pleasure less than twice a year. Children who do indulge in reading for pleasure tended to be those kids whose parents read to them and whose parents read themselves. Those kids who are read to spend about 30-60 minus a day reading.

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24. Beyond Traffic: Three Stats You Should Check Today

Whether you're a spreadsheet enthusiast or allergic to numbers, digging into your site's stats can help you better engage with your audience. Let's take a look at three stats that can make a difference beyond page views.

14 Comments on Beyond Traffic: Three Stats You Should Check Today, last added: 5/20/2014
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25. What’s the E-Book Market Share?

E-books shook the publishing world like an F-1 race car […]

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