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Title: Data Torturing and the Misuse of Statistical Tools

Abstract

Statistical concepts, methods, and tools are often used in the implementation of statistical thinking. Unfortunately, statistical tools are all too often misused by not applying them in the context of statistical thinking that focuses on processes, variation, and data. The consequences of this misuse may be ''data torturing'' or going beyond reasonable interpretation of the facts due to a misunderstanding of the processes creating the data or the misinterpretation of variability in the data. In the hope of averting future misuse and data torturing, examples are provided where the application of common statistical tools, in the absence of statistical thinking, provides deceptive results by not adequately representing the underlying process and variability. For each of the examples, a discussion is provided on how applying the concepts of statistical thinking may have prevented the data torturing. The lessons learned from these examples will provide an increased awareness of the potential for many statistical methods to mislead and a better understanding of how statistical thinking broadens and increases the effectiveness of statistical tools.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (US); Sandia National Labs., Livermore, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
10185
Report Number(s):
SAND99-2178C
TRN: AH200125%%301
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Annual Quality Congress, Indianapolis, IN (US), 05/08/2000--05/10/2000; Other Information: PBD: 16 Aug 1999
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; IMPLEMENTATION; SPACE SHUTTLES; DATA ANALYSIS; STATISTICAL MECHANICS; STATISTICS; CALCULATION METHODS; USES; STATISTICAL THINKING; VARIABILITY; STATISTICAL METHODS

Citation Formats

Abate, Marcey L. Data Torturing and the Misuse of Statistical Tools. United States: N. p., 1999. Web.
Abate, Marcey L. Data Torturing and the Misuse of Statistical Tools. United States.
Abate, Marcey L. Mon . "Data Torturing and the Misuse of Statistical Tools". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10185.
@article{osti_10185,
title = {Data Torturing and the Misuse of Statistical Tools},
author = {Abate, Marcey L.},
abstractNote = {Statistical concepts, methods, and tools are often used in the implementation of statistical thinking. Unfortunately, statistical tools are all too often misused by not applying them in the context of statistical thinking that focuses on processes, variation, and data. The consequences of this misuse may be ''data torturing'' or going beyond reasonable interpretation of the facts due to a misunderstanding of the processes creating the data or the misinterpretation of variability in the data. In the hope of averting future misuse and data torturing, examples are provided where the application of common statistical tools, in the absence of statistical thinking, provides deceptive results by not adequately representing the underlying process and variability. For each of the examples, a discussion is provided on how applying the concepts of statistical thinking may have prevented the data torturing. The lessons learned from these examples will provide an increased awareness of the potential for many statistical methods to mislead and a better understanding of how statistical thinking broadens and increases the effectiveness of statistical tools.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1999},
month = {8}
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

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