Archive | September 2011

Are there benefits to gaining a strong statistical background?

As a psychology student I believe that a strong statistical background is always useful to have and is a very powerful foundation to base the rest of your research on. In daily life statistics are also very important as we are surrounded by statistics everywhere we go. When we watch adverts companies use statistics to try to sell there products for example a hair product is advertised and they say that 73% of women agreed that the product gave there hair a healthy shine. The bit that is missing is how many women were tested as 73% out of a hundred women is much more than 73% out of a thousand. Supermarkets also use statistics to draw customers in. An example of this is Asda comparing there prices with other supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsburys and stating that they are 10% cheaper than other leading supermarkets. The general public like to see statistics because they are easy to understand. When an advert comes on the television stating that there is 50% off in there store the public are more likely to go to that store rather then to one advertising 30% 0ff.

Taking a step away from everyday life and looking more into psychology, a strong statistical background can be a great help to analyse our data. When working with raw data using statistics to run a t-test, for example, will give a more in-depth knowledge of  the raw data collected. Being able to understand and come to terms with the data collected can be much more useful than not really knowing what that data means and how it can be used. Having a strong statistical background could mean that an experiment becomes valid and reliable however having a weak statistical background could mean that there is not enough evidence to conclude the experiment to be both valid and reliable.