How to Prove You're (a) Case Using Statistics
by Patrique Roonquel, guest blogger
Institut Sacre Bleu
I enjoy using Minitab Statistical Software to uncover the vast causal relationships unfolding in the universe all around me.
What kind of novel things have I proven with Minitab? Almost anything you can imagine, mon petite shoe.
For example, the fitted line plot below clearly shows one thing: it’s time for our political parties to stop all the bickering and finally give Americans what we really want…
…a much taller president!
(See the dot way up at the top of the plot? That’s George Washington, the Father of our Country. He was one of our tallest presidents and got 99.9% of the vote. Bada bing. Bada boom.)
Feel free to use this plot to predict future election results.
For example, write this one down: I predict that in 2020, Igor Vovkovinskiy will be elected U.S President by a landslide.
What Makes the Human Body Evolve?
Fortunately, my statistical expertise is not limited to political soothsaying. Oh contraire, mon chair!
Like Walt Whitman, I contain multitudes— or multivariates—or Malto-Meal—or whatever he said.
Move over, Kevin Rudy. Because I’m also an expert on sports statistics.
These side-by-side time series plots clearly show why winning times in the Olympic 100-yard dash are getting faster each year.
Who wouldn’t run faster for gold, at those prices? The inverse correlation is about as obvious as it gets.
How Can We Improve the Lives of Our Children?
But my statistical analyses have also uncovered more elusive and hidden cause-effect relationships.
For example, everyone is concerned about the effect of television on the impressionable minds of our youth.
To better understand this complex issue, I’ve collected historical data on U.S. television ownership from the Nielsen survey and average math scores of 4th graders from the U.S. Department of Education.
Par bleu, Mon duh!
The chart shows that the more TVs we add to our households, the better the mathematical skills of our children will become. Which makes perfect sense. I suspect that manipulating large, 3-digit channel numbers using the remote markedly improves their number sense.
But I know what you’re thinking: That similar trend in both bar charts doesn’t prove anything.
So just to satisfy you critics, I performed a correlation analysis in Minitab to verify the statistical significance of the association between these two variables.
Correlations: Avg TV sets per household, Avg Math Scores-4th graders
Pearson correlation of Avg TV sets per household and Avg Math Scores-4th graders = 0.972
P-Value = 0.000
I mean, what more do you want? A p-value can’t get any lower than that! And look at that correlation—almost a perfect positive correlation!
The statistics prove it. If you truly care about your children, and their futures, buy them more TVs.
The data in this post are true and accurate. The author and his interpretations are, thankfully, completely fictional. If you’re interested in other works by Dr. Roonquel, check out his groundbreaking paper on how an antioxidant deficiency caused World War II.
And by the way, today (April 1), is Dr. Roonquel's birthday!