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Oh no – not that mistake again. Flickr/Alex Proimos

The 10 stuff-ups we all make when interpreting research

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Understanding what’s being said in any new research can be challenging and there are…
An example of unidirectional cause and effect: bad weather means umbrella sales rise, but buying umbrellas won’t make it rain. Mariusz Olszewski/Flickr

Clearing up confusion between correlation and causation

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Today we look at the dangers of making a link between unrelated results. Here’s an…
Harder, faster, better, stronger. Jose Coelho/EPA

Do winning teams at the World Cup run further and faster?

Tracking technology using video or GPS chips have transformed the ability of coaches in elite team sports to monitor the physical contributions of players in games. This type of data is usually highly…
Spain took home the 2010 World Cup trophy – can they do it again this year? EPA/Peter Klaunzer

World Cup 2014 predictions: who will take the title?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a hard-core football nut, a once-every-four-years fan or even a psychic animal – most of us speculate on the winner of the World Cup. The 2014 competition is held in Brazil…
Sorry Rick – you should’ve been left behind about three decades ago (along with some algorithms). Claudio Poblete/Flickr

Some stats methods are like Rick Astley – best left in the 1980s

It’s an exciting time to be doing statistics. You heard me – statistics: exciting. It often gets a bad rap, but stats is after all at the business end of the research process. When I’ve collaborated on…
If the UK’s Molly doesn’t luck out, it’s not due to collusion. EPA/Joerg Carstensen

Hard Evidence: is the UK shunned at Eurovision?

It’s that time of the year again. One of the biggest events in Europe’s (and the world’s) cultural calendar, the Eurovision song contest is legendary. The attention paid to this bizarre show is enormous…
A 2% rise next year instead? You have my word. Rui Vieira/PA

Hard Evidence: does the public sector pay better?

The government’s decision to reject the recommended 1% rise in NHS salaries has been met with “contempt” by the unions. The issue of public sector pay has become highly contentious, with each side arguing…
Stacking the odds? Rebecca Siegel

Here be dragons? China’s economic data may not be all bad

The world’s second-largest economy has become the second-most watched and yet investors, politicians and economists are never quite clear what it is they’re looking at. China’s premier, Li Keqiang, is…
Corporate data, once resigned to magnetic tapes, is now able to be manipulated on a much finer grained scale. TunnelBug/Flickr

Big data and big business: it’s what you do with it that matters

The crucial thing about “big data” is the data. “Big” is relative, and while size often matters, real disruption can come from data of any size. This is not a new idea, being several hundred years old…
Statistics can’t tell us everything: p values are only the start of the problem. chrisinplymouth

Give p a chance: significance testing is misunderstood

Yesterday’s article by Geoff Cumming, based on a very recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Science paper, argued that “null hypothesis significance tests” (NHST) are flawed – and he is correct…
A p value of .05 has been the default ‘significance’ threshold for nearly 90 years … but is that standard too weak? Martin_Heigan

The problem with p values: how significant are they, really?

For researchers there’s a lot that turns on the p value, the number used to determine whether a result is statistically significant. The current consensus is that if p is less than .05, a study has reached…
Terry Speed plus maths and stats equals Prime Minister’s Prize for Science 2013. WEHI

Is it possible to add statistics to science? You can count on it

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science recognise excellence in science and science teaching. This year, we asked three prizewinners to reflect on their work and factors that influenced their careers…

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