Techniques may come techniques may go but stats go on for ever

Alan Cooper

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Itend to tell students, when appropriate, that statistics are like menstruation – not least because it momentarily wrests them from daydreams or from texting each other. The latter, before we humans invented society with its higher ideals, was an admission of failure to conceive. Statistical analysis in science is an admission of failure to get to grips with experiments and have all the variables under control. Noticeably, the ‘harder’ the science the less are statistics necessary. In journals of chemistry or physics they feature relatively little; move nearer to the diversity of life (no coincidence SPSS is so named) and reliance on statistics to restore order amid chaos is vast. Between these extremes and at their best they impose a discipline of restraint on how results are viewed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141
Number of pages1
JournalOncology News
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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