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Against All Odds: Inside Statistics

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Against All Odds places a strong emphasis on "doing" statistics. Each unit is based on a video module that introduces a statistical topic in real-world context and takes you on location to where people from all walks of life are using statistics in their work. Starting with descriptive statistics, the course continues through probability and inference. Examples range from finding patterns in lightning strikes, to examining possible generic resistance to deadly Lassa fever in West Africa, to linking DDT to the decline of peregrine falcons. This episode and all others for this series can be viewed online, free and on-demand, at


  • Binomial Distributions

    This program examines binomial distributions, which are distributions which have: 1) only two possible outcomes; 2) a fixed number of independent traits, and; 3) the same probability of success or failure for each applied trial. The program shows how binomial distributions are important for understanding how genetic characteristics, including harmful diseases such as sickle cell anemia, are passed from parents to children.

    Length: 00:10:05
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Blocking and Sampling: Experiments and Samples

    Two components of experimental methodology, sampling and blocking (or stratified sampling), are explored in this program. The program explores the operations of the Frito Lay Corporation and an experimental farm for growing strawberries to explain how they incorporate blocking and sampling into their testing procedures to reduce the variations caused by testing, and get more accurate results on how to produce better products.

    Length: 00:10:23
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Case Study

    This final episode deals with the very current issue of AIDS, and a very major role that statistics has played in the treatment of that disease. We follow the drug AZT through its invention by the Burroughs-Wellcome Company, through a test run by that company, to its final approval by the Food and Drug Administration as an effective combatant to the AIDS virus. The emphasis is on how statistical analysis was able to determine the effectiveness and reliablility of that drug.

    Length: 00:12:29
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Comparing Two Means

    Comparing the activity and calorie expenditure levels of Western office workers and African hunter gatherers adds some surprising new data to the science of obesity.

    Length: 00:10:59
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Comparing Two Means

    This program applies T-procedures to situations in which comparisons must be made between the mean scores of two groups. This procedure is extremely important in determining whether the perceived difference between groups is statistically significant or the result of random variation. The program shows how T-procedures can be used to determine whether the increase in earnings of persons participating in a job training program are statistically different from persons who did not participate in the project.

    Length: 00:11:56
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Confidence Intervals

    Casinos are as well versed in probability as statisticians and probability models help them maintain the house advantage over gamblers.

    Length: 00:10:32
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Correlation

    Statistical correlations, as a measure of linear relationships, are the subject of this program. Using examples such as the relationship between major league baseball salaries and home run production. The programexplores how statistical correlations can explain the strength and direction of the linear relationship between two variables. The program uses both statistical and graphic techniques to explain correlation relationships.

    Length: 00:10:45
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Describing Distributions: Numerical Description Of

    This program focuses on how measures of central tendency (mean. median) and dispersion (interquartile range, standard deviation) can be used to describe, explain and understand distributions of statistical data. The application of these measures to problems involving wage descrimination and the caloric measurements of foods is examined in depth. The use of graphics to explain and analyze measures of central tenden cy and dispersion is emphasized throughout the program.

    Length: 00:09:41
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Describing Relationships

    This program describes how relationships between numerical variables can be understood using statistical and graphic techniques. Scatterplots and regression lines are utilized as methods which are capable of showing the underlying patters of complex sets of data. Research studies about the endangerment of Florida's manatees (sea cows) and human obesity are utilized as examples to display how scatterplots and regression lines aid interpretation and analysis.

    Length: 00:12:48
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Experimental Design

    This program provides an introductino to some of the basic terms and priciples of experimental methodology. It examines why practices such as randomization and "double blindness" help prevent research results from being vitiated by confounding variables. The program uses studies on asprin usage and heart disease, and domestic violence to illustrate these points.

    Length: 00:10:49
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Inference for One Mean

    This program explores the application of T procedures (T-Tests) in determining confidence intervals and statistical significance from sample data. Examples such as the testing of soft drink sweetness are utilized to explain how carefully selected random samples can reveal important findings about the larger population from which they are drawn.

    Length: 00:11:27
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Inference for Proportions

    This episode explores the use of the standard deviation in determiningthe significance of data. Formulae are given for examining whether di screpancies in data are due to chance or not. In addition to the formulae, independent cases are examined for examples of ways in which suchstudies have come into play in actual circumstances, including the Sa lem witch trials and toxic waste in Massachussetts.

    Length: 00:09:34
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Inference for Proportions

    Managers have no clue what conditions actually motivate their workers best, as shown by research conducted by Teresa Amabile, host of the original Against All Odds.

    Length: 00:10:45
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Inference for Regression

    Historical story of how statisticians built the case against DDT as the culprit behind plummeting peregrine falcon population numbers.

    Length: 00:13:46
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Inference for Relationships

    This program uses discoveries in astronomy and fetal health to explorerelationshiops between variables. In both cases, the program explains how statistical tests can serve as predictors for evvents ranging fro m the rate of expansion of the universe to the health of unborn babies.

    Length: 00:16:42
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Inference for Two-Way Tables

    Inference for Two-Way Tables focuses on statistical techniques for judging the relationships between categorical variables. The program utilizes the chi-square statistic to explain how analysts determine whether the observed differences between groups are statistically significant or the product of chance or random variation. By using this technique the program highlights a studyu which found that older women were less likely to receive treatment for serious medical disorders than younger women.

    Length: 00:10:01
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Inference for Two-Way Tables

    Host Dr. Pardis Sabeti's own research examines possible genetic resistance to deadly Lassa fever in West Africa. Using Inference for Two-Way Tables helps untangle potential relationships.

    Length: 00:10:03
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Models for Growth

    This program examines the two most common patters of growth that statistics often reveal: exponential growth and linear growth. The program uses examples such as the growth of children and increase in gypsy moth populations to explain that linear growth is additive while exponential growth is multiplicative.

    Length: 00:12:07
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Multidimensional Data Analysis

    The emphasis of this program is on displaying relationships with more than two variables for easy analysis. These displays are often aided by sophisticated computer graphics, which convert complicated data into pictoral displays.

    Length: 00:08:58
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Normal Calculations

    This program focuses on three statistical measures or techniques: 1) zscores; 20 Quantile Plots; 3) Relative frequencies. These 3 measures or techniques for analyzing data are applied to distributions involvi ng cholesterol levels and clothing sizes. The measures are shown to be effective in locating where individual cases fall within normal distributions.

    Length: 00:09:05
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Normal Distributions

    This program describes how characteristics of the normal distribution aid in the interpretation of statistical data. Statistical measures from previous programs, such as mean and standard deviation, are discussed in terms of their relationship to the normal distribution. These concepts are applied to demographic changes in the age of the U. S. population, and the effects those changes have on the supply and demand for social services and labor.

    Length: 00:08:49
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • One-Way Anova

    Does holding a heavier clipboard make you estimate that a jar of coins has more money in it than if you're holding a lighter clipboard? Psychologists use One-Way ANOVA to analyze the data from this experiment.

    Length: 00:12:27
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Picturing Distributions

    This program explains how graphical representations can aid the display and analysis of statistical data. Graphics such as histograms and stemplots are used to explain the center, spread and shape of distributions of data. The application of these methods by a TV station and a health care facility is explored in depth.

    Length: 00:11:48
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Random Variables

    This program extends the probability theory covered in the previous programs to show their real world applications in solving problems and making proper statistical analysis. Using simple strategies, such as the multiplication rule of probability, the program displays how scientists can better predict earthquakes and how the shuttle challenger explosion could have been avoided.

    Length: 00:09:44
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Samples & Surveys: Sampling & Sampling Distributio

    This program explains some of the basic principles of selecting random samples and then looks into some of the operational procedures necessary for assuring that sample data do not contain bias. Stratified random sampling, a method for assuring that samples are truly representative of the populations from which they are drawn, is discussed in depth.

    Length: 00:14:04
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Significance Tests

    Significance tests are important statistical tools because they revealwhether a given statistic is a result of random variation or evidence of a meaningful relationship between variables. This program examines the application of significance tests by utilizing research on Shakes peares's texts and racial discrimination in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In both cases, significance tests are used to test the validity of research hypotheses.

    Length: 00:11:06
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Summary (Case Studies)

    This review of the course through the preceding 31 video modules provides an overview of the practice of statistics and helps students appreciate how statistical methods can help them better understand their world.

    Length: 00:06:46
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • The Question of Causation

    When are statistical associations proof of causal relationships? This issue is explored in this program using the Surgeon General's report on smoking and health as an example of an extensive study which utilized statistical assocations to come to the conclusion that cigarette smoking is related to cancer and other diseases. The program specifies the criteria that must be met before causation can be infered from statistical association.

    Length: 00:10:44
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • The Sample Mean and Control Charts

    This program concludes the topic of probability theory by exploring sample means, central limit theorum and the use of control charts. These statistical tests or methods are examines through their application in casino gambling and quality control in manufacturing.

    Length: 00:11:19
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • Time Series

    The topic of this program is interpreting data that is measured over time. The program examines: 1) cycles and trends; 2) seasonal variations; and 3) methods for smoothing time series data. These concepts and techniques are applied to the New York Stock Exchange in a discussion of whether reoccuring trends and cycles can be located in the stock market.

    Length: 00:09:06
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • What Is Probability?

    The application of probability theory to statistics is the subject of this program. Examples ranging from the rolling of a die to traffic patterns in NYC are examined to show how seemingly random events can be better understood through the rules of probability.

    Length: 00:11:10
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019
  • What Is Statistics?

    "What's Statistics" provides an introduction to basic terms and methodin statistics and statistical analysis by examining their application in a variety of business, scientific, and academic settings. Terms an d concepts such as sampling, experimental methodology and prob- ability theory are explained through their use by companies like Domino's Pizza, in developing, evaluating and marketing new food products, and byscientists like Raul Lopez, who explains how statis- tics are an impo rtant part of his studies on weather patterns.

    Length: 00:06:23
    Usage rights: Expires 8/14/2019



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