CHAPTER 2

Sources of Uncertainty

Why “Sure Thing!” Rarely Is

The results of any investigation will, of course, be uncertain, if not completely wrong, if the information on which the investigation is based is not correct. However, in statistical investigations there are additional sources of ­uncertainty, because of the need to extract a neat and useful conclusion from information that may be extensive and variable.

Statistical Data

Statements that appear at first sight to be clear and unambiguous often hide a great deal of uncertainty. In the previous chapter, I used the proposition “All cows eat grass” as an example of an acceptable starting point from which to draw a logical conclusion. Looking closely, you can see that it is a statistical ...

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