Learn Quality Statistics in Less than 3.18 ± 0.5 Minutes A Day

Patrick Runkel
Let’s face it. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy with our business.

In a world that spins at about 1,000 miles per hour, and seems to pick up speed every day , we’re lucky if we have enough time, energy, and focus to put on matching socks in the morning. (Notice that my socks have been cropped from this picture.)

So trying to quickly get a handle on the statistics you need for a quality improvement project can be, at best, a harried proposition.  And it’s easy to find yourself suddenly mired in a gooey swamp of p-values, correlation coefficients, matrix plots, and pooled variances.

Had we lived in ancient Greek times, we could have donned togas (no matching socks required), sat on a rock under some olive trees, and spent long and luxurious hours pondering the mystery, beauty, and intricacy of mathematical concepts, slowly tracing out esoteric calculations in the sand.

But fast-forward a few thousand years—and we simply ain’t got the time to wash and iron togas, let alone rediscover the Pythagorean theorem. Ergo Minitab…and this blog.

My name is Patrick Runkel and I’m a Statistical Communication Specialist at Minitab. I’ve spent most of my professional life teaching and writing about mathematics. I’ve been lucky enough to do it in diverse settings and topic levels: from teaching elementary school students how to divide fractions to helping  Ph.D. researchers apply logistic regression analysis in their research fields.

One thing I’ve learned is that being able to communicate statistical concepts quickly and clearly is just as critical as being able to calculate them. So in my blog, I’d like to focus on mining and presenting statistical “gems”. Quick, practical insights about statistics, that, I hope, will have you saying “aha!” and make you feel  on top of your game, as you use Minitab software to make data-driven decisions.

Unfortunately, though, I can’t promise that I can get your socks to match.


Name: Bankim • Tuesday, August 20, 2013


The way you have explained T-test in most practical way (I would say in layman's language), understanding statistics can not get any easier than that. A question - Have you put this as well as other topics with practical wisdon in sort of a book one can purchase?


Name: Patrick • Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thank you for your kind comment,Bankim. No plans for a book at this point—but I really like your idea!

In lieu of a book, how about a compilation of Minitab blog posts, by myself and other blog authors, that explain select statistical concepts in accessible, everyday language? There are many such posts out there already—and they’re completely free!

Here’s just the beginning of a list:


Population vs sample

Pareto chart

St Dev, SE, Var

Process capability (Cp, Pp)


Weibull distribution

Overfit (regression)

And there are a lot more.

Here’s another good source: The Statistical Glossary in Minitab Help (it’s kind of a hidden secret). In Minitab, choose Help > Statistical Glossary.

In the meantime, if you ever have a suggestion for a topic that you think could benefit from an explanatory post, please let me know! I’d be happy to try to tackle it.

Best to you!

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