"It's like... you know": The Use of Analogies and Heuristics in Teaching Introductory Statistical Methods


Authors: 
Martin, M. A.
Category: 
Volume: 
11(2)
Pages: 
Online
Year: 
2003
Publisher: 
Journal of Statistics Education
URL: 
http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v11n2/martin.html
Abstract: 

Students often come to their first statistics class with the preconception that statistics is confusing and dull. This problem is compounded when even introductory techniques are steeped in jargon. One approach that can overcome some of these problems is to align the statistical techniques under study with elements from students' everyday experiences. The use of simple physical analogies is a powerful way to motivate even complicated statistical ideas. In this article, I describe several analogies, some well known and some new, that I have found useful. The analogies are designed to demystify statistical ideas by placing them in a physical context and by appealing to students' common experiences. As a result, some frequent misconceptions and mistakes about statistical techniques can be addressed.