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Gage This or Gage That? How the Number of Distinct Categories Relates to the %Study Variation

We cannot improve what we cannot measure. Therefore, it is critical that we conduct a measurement systems analysis (MSA) before we start analyzing our data to make any kind of decisions.

When conducting an MSA for continuous measurements, we typically using a Gage R&R Study. And in these Gage R&R Studies, we look at output such as the percentage study variation (%Study Var, or %SV) and the Number of Distinct Categories (ndc) to assess whether our measurement system is adequate.

Looking at these 2 values to assess a measurement system often leads to questions like "Should I look at both values? ...

Five Guidelines for Using P values

There is high pressure to find low P values. Obtaining a low P value for a hypothesis test is make or break because it can lead to funding, articles, and prestige. Statistical significance is everything!

My two previous posts looked at several issues related to P values:

In this post, I’ll look at whether P values are still helpful and provide guidelines on how to use them with these issues in mind.

Sir Ronald A Fisher

Are P Values Still Valuable?

Given...

An Unlikely Statistician: Florence Nightingale

Many of my close friends and family members are nurses, and I’ve noticed (via Facebook of course) that many recently celebrated National Nurses’ Week, which ran Tuesday, May 6 through Monday, May 12—the actual birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Florence Nightingale is known as the founder of modern nursing, but you might not know that she is also a celebrated statistician. When I started reading more about her contributions to statistics, I was surprised to find that she used statistics to not only learn more about how many people died during wartime, and why, but also as a way to visually...

Exponential: How a Poor Memory Helps to Model Failure Data

These days, my memory isn't what it used to be. Besides that, my memory isn't what it used to be. 

But my incurable case of CRS (Can't Remember Stuff) is not nearly as bad as that of the exponential distribution.

When modelling failure data for reliability analysis, the exponential distribution is completely memoryless. It retains no record of the previous failure of an item.

That might sound like a bad thing. But this special characteristic makes the distribution extremely useful for modelling the behavior of items that have a constant failure rate.

Using the Exponential Distribution to Model...

Statistics: No Laughing Matter

by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger 

I told a friend about my interest in statistics, and he immediately told me a joke about broiled chicken and statistics.

The punch line involved my friend getting to eat all the chicken. Unfortunately, I forgot the rest of the joke. I can, however, assure you it was a very funny statistics-related joke.

People often make jokes when I mention my interest in statistics, and I don't think they make the jokes just because there are so many great statistics-related jokes available. There might be some good jokes about statistics, but I only know two and can only...

Hypothesis Testing and P Values

by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger

Programs such as the Minitab Statistical Software make hypothesis testing easier; but no program can think for the experimenter. Anybody performing a statistical hypothesis test must understand what p values mean in regards to their statistical results as well as potential limitations of statistical hypothesis testing.

A p value of 0.05 is frequently used during statical hypothesis testing. This p value indicates that if there is no effect (or if the null hypothesis is true), you’d obtain the observed difference or more in 5% of studies due to random sampling...

Chaos at the Kentucky Derby? Bet on It!

If betting wasn't allowed on horse racing, the Kentucky Derby would likely be a little-known event of interest only to a small group of horse racing enthusiasts. But like the Tour de France, the World Cup, and the Masters Tournament, even those with little or no knowledge of the sport in general seem drawn to the excitement over its premier event—the mint juleps, the hats...and of course, the betting.

As most of you probably already know, then, a big part of betting is the odds placed on a particular horse, so that a bet on the favorite to win the race would pay out significantly less than a...

Dividing a Data Set into Training and Validation Samples

Adam Ozimek had an interesting post April 15th on the Modeled Behavior blog at Forbes.com. He observed that one of the advantages of big data is how easy it is to get test data to validate a model that you built from sample data.

Ozimek notes that he is “for the most part a p-value checking, residual examining, data modeling culture economist,” but he’s correct to observe that if you can test your model on real data, then you should.

What I’ll describe is certainly not the only way to divide data in Minitab Statistical Software. Still, I think it’s pretty good if I do say so myself. Want...

Proving My Toddler Really Doesn’t Know her Left Foot from her Right

"Do it myself!

If only I had a nickel for every time I heard that phrase from my toddler in a given day. From throwing away trash, to putting frozen waffles in the toaster, to feeding the dog, I hear it so often that I could possibly retire with all the nickels I’d collect.

And of course, I hear this proclamation every single time my 2-year-old puts on her shoes.

What happens when a toddler tries to put on their own shoes? Well, at least in the case of my little one, the left shoe goes on the right foot, and the right shoe on the left foot, followed by a triumphant “Do it myself! Yay!!!” And the...

When Will I Ever See This Statistics Software Again?

Minitab Statistical Software was born out of a desire to make statistics easier to learn: by making the calculations faster and easier with computers, the trio of educators who created the first version of Minitab sought to free students from intensive computations to focus on learning key statistical concepts. That approach resonated with statistics instructors, and today Minitab is the standard for teaching and learning statistics at more than 4,000 universities all over the world.

But many students seem to believe Minitab is used onlyin education. Search Twitter for "Minitab," and you're...

Not All P Values are Created Equal

The interpretation of P values would seem to be fairly standard between different studies. Even if two hypothesis tests study different subject matter, we tend to assume that you can interpret a P value of 0.03 the same way for both tests. A P value is a P value, right?

Not so fast! While Minitab statistical software can correctly calculate all P values, it can’t factor in the larger context of the study. You and your common sense need to do that!

In this post, I’ll demonstrate that P values tell us very different things depending on the larger context.

Recap: P Values Are Not the Probability of...

More "Hidden Helpers" in Minitab Statistical Software

In an earlier post, I shared some great hidden helpers in Minitab Statistical Software that even many veteran users don't know about. Here are a few more!

Everything In Its Right Place

Minitab’s Project Manager allows you to navigate, view, and manipulate various parts of your project. Right-clicking either the folders or their contents lets you access a variety of menus that allow you to manage Session Window output, graphs, worksheets, command language, and related project areas. You can also copy any or all analyses and graphs to Minitab’s built-in ReportPad to create reports and share your...

"Hidden Helpers" in Minitab Statistical Software

Minitab Statistical Software offers many features that can save you time and effort when you’re learning statistics or analyzing data. However, when we demonstrate many of these short cuts, tools, and capabilities at shows and events, we find that even some longtime users aren’t aware of them.

I asked members of our sales team and technical support staff to list some of Minitab’s most helpful, yet frequently overlooked features. How many do you use—or want to start using?

Can You Repeat That?

Frequently, you’ll need to modify or re-run some part of an analysis you conducted. You can easily return...

“Hello, How Can I Help You?”- A Look at Quality Improvement in Financial Services

It’s common to think that process improvement initiatives are meant to cater only to manufacturing processes, simply because manufacturing is where Lean and Six Sigma began. However, many other industries, in particular financial services and banking, also rely on data analysis and Lean Six Sigma tools to improve processes.

Rod Toro is a business process improvement manager at Edward Jones, and I recently got the chance to talk with him about a Lean Six Sigma project the service division at his company completed to improve customer satisfaction.

Edward Jones has been increasing the number of...

Hockey Penalties, Fans Booing, and Independent Trials

We’re in the thick of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which means hockey fans are doing what seems to be every sports fan's favorite hobby...complaining about the refs! While most complaints, such as “We’re not getting any of the close calls!” are subjective and hard to get data for, there's one question that we should be able to answer objectively with a statistical analysis: Are hockey penalties independent trials? That is, does the team that the next penalty will be called on depend on the team that any previous penalties were called on?

Think of flipping a coin. Even if it comes up heads 10 times...

A Different Look at the New Medicare Data

It’s been an exciting week to be interested in Medicare data. On April 9th,  the American government opened up data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that show charges made to Medicare and payments received by over 880,000 entities. If you went to Bing on Monday, April 14, at about 12:30, chose to look at news stories, and typed Medicare money into the search box, here’s a sampling of what you got:

Medicare doctors: Who gets the big bucks & for what
The Medicare Data’s Pitfalls
Medicare Data Shines Light on Billions Paid to TX Doctors
Political Ties of Top Billers for...

How to Correctly Interpret P Values

The P value is used all over statistics, from t-tests to regression analysis. Everyone knows that you use P values to determine statistical significance in a hypothesis test. In fact, P values often determine what studies get published and what projects get funding.

Despite being so important, the P value is a slippery concept that people often interpret incorrectly. How do you interpret P values?

In this post, I'll help you to understand P values in a more intuitive way and to avoid a very common misinterpretation that can cost you money and credibility.

What Is the Null Hypothesis in Hypothesis...

What Can Classical Chinese Poetry Teach Us About Graphical Analysis?

A famous classical Chinese poem from the Song dynasty describes the views of a mist-covered mountain called Lushan.

The poem was inscribed on the wall of a Buddhist monastery by Su Shi, a renowned poet, artist, and calligrapher of the 11th century.

Deceptively simple, the poem captures the illusory nature of human perception.
 

   Written on the Wall of West Forest Temple

                                      --Su Shi
 
  From the side, it's a mountain ridge.
  Looking up, it's a single peak.
  Far or near, high or low, it never looks the same.
  You can't know the true face of Lu Mountain
  When...

Did Welch’s ANOVA Make Fisher's Classic One-Way ANOVA Obsolete?

One-way ANOVA can detect differences between the means of three or more groups. It’s such a classic statistical analysis that it’s hard to imagine it changing much.

However, a revolution has been under way for a while now. Fisher's classic one-way ANOVA, which is taught in Stats 101 courses everywhere, may well be obsolete thanks to Welch’s ANOVA.

In this post, I not only want to introduce you to Welch’s ANOVA, but also highlight some interesting research that we perform here at Minitab that guides the implementation of features in our statistical software.

One-Way ANOVA Assumptions

Like any...