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Presentation 3M2. Statistacy, Vocabulary and Hypothesis Testing

Alan McLean (Australia)


Presentation Abstract
First, since there will be a need to refer to the general theme of this conference, we need a word to replace 'statistical literacy'. I propose 'statistacy' with the adjective 'statisticate'.
What are the characteristics of a statisticate person? I suggest that a statisticate person should be able to read and understand statistical arguments of moderate complexity, and has developed some tendency to think quantitatively. Then the most important characteristic of the statisticate person is that he or she does not rely on rigid rules to make statistical decisions, but uses informed judgement. In particular, he or she should understand the concepts of modelling and selection between models, and recognise their importance.
A major barrier to developing statistacy is the vocabulary used. Two words that should only be used with the greatest of care (if necessary, not used at all) are 'prove' and 'true'.
Hypothesis testing is a useful statistical tool that is widely misunderstood. It represents a mode of thought which is fundamental to statistical analysis, and so belongs in the kit bag of any statisticate person.


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