Sampling & Survey Issues

  • The idea that the examination of a relatively small number of randomly selected individuals can furnish dependable information about the characteristics of a vast unseen universe is an idea so powerful that only familiarity makes it cease to be exciting Is a quote from American Educational Statistician Helen Mary Walker (1891 - 1983). Helen Walker was the first women to serve as the president of the American Statistical Association and this quote is from her December 27, 1944 presidential address at the 104th annual meeting of the ASA in Washington, D.C. The full address may be found in the "Journal of the American Statistical Association" (1945; vol. 40, #229 p. 1-10).

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  • A cartoon to teach the idea that sampling variability depends on the size of the sample, and not on the size of the population (as long as the sample is a small part of the population). Cartoon drawn by British cartoonist John Landers based on an idea from Dennis Pearl. Free to use in the classroom and for course websites.

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  • November 14, 2006 webinar presented by Chrstine Franklin, University of Georgia, and Jessica Utts, University of California and hosted by Jackie Miller, The Ohio State University. In 2005 the American Statistical Association endorsed the recommendations of a report written by leading statistics educators, called "Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education" (GAISE). The report had two parts - one for K-12 and one for the college introductory statistics course. In this webinar, two members of the report-writing team review the recommendations in the report, and provide suggestions for how to begin to implement them.

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  • A cartoon to teach ideas about sample surveys. Cartoon by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.

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  • A cartoon suitable for a course website or classroom use in teaching about sample surveys (election polls). The cartoon is number 500 (November, 2008) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a creative commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching the idea that association does not imply causation. The cartoon is number 552 (March, 2009) from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a creative commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license. A t-shirt with this cartoon is also available for sale at xkcd.com.

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  • A cartoon to teach about issues in designing a well-controlled experiment. Cartoon by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.

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  • For the biologist who doubts an old hypothesis or wishes to test out a new one, there is the biological laboratory. There, under conditions over which he can exercise the most rigid control, he can vary the light, the air, the food, which his plants or his animals receive, from the moment of birth throughout their lifetime. Keeping all the conditions but one constant, he can make accurate measurement of the effect of the one. This is the ideal method of science, the method of the controlled experiment, through which all hypotheses may be submitted to a strict objective test. ... Unfortunately such methods of experiment are denied to us when our materials are humanity and the whole fabric of a social order. This is a quote from American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) from the introduction to the 1973 edition of her 1929 book "Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization".

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  • A cartoon to teach about one difficulty in conducting education research arising from problems in obtaining reliable and valid endpoints. Cartoon by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.

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  • A questionnaire is never perfect: some are simply better than others. A quote of American statistician and quality control pioneer William Edwards Deming (1900-1993). The quote appears on page 31 of Deming's book "Some Theory of Sampling" (John Wiley & Sons, 1950) . The quote also appears in "Statistically Speaking: A dictionary of quotations" compiled by Carl Gaither and Alma Cavazos-Gaither.

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