Week 8 – Statistics

I would like to start off with this post by saying I found Glen’s lecture about statistics and surveys to be quite informative, and I thoroughly enjoyed how he gave examples of bad survey questions. Although some of the examples were amusing, this is a problematic matter, especially when Glen told the class that a couple of them were done by graduate students. This clearly shows that we must be more informed and trained in the research methods that we would like use for our research projects.

Now, in terms of statistics, I learned that these could be great to use, but I find it is dependent on the research topic and question. Also, I find that statistics sometimes come with negative connotations with it because of the complexity and perplexity of them. One of Glen’s slides exemplifies this when he presents many of the complicated terms associated with statistics. These can be overwhelming and intimidating for some people, and thus, may not want to use them for their research. This is actually true for me and so I have not had much experience with statistics, except for the couple of instances where I had to use Census Canada for some projects. However, I used Census Canada awhile ago, and I believe it was for high school projects, and I am certain that I did not use this website or any statistics for that matter in my undergraduate years. A lot of my research in my undergraduate years focused on qualitative methods and data, which I was taught to use in a couple of courses. So, this might be another reason why I have not used statistics extensively.

I find the Minard flow map to be a great example that shows graphs are more than just a representation of numbers. This graph presents a lot of information that is presented in a number of layers. Each layer or set of data clearly defines what they are set to do. For instance, one layer presents the temperatures throughout the context of space and time. Another layer shows the number of soldiers, and how there were more or less in certain time periods and locations. This map cannot simply be examined and analyzed within a short span of time, which I find is also the case for statistics. Even so, the information gathered from such data could be quite enriching and useful for someone’s research.

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