Drawing Conclusions from Studies

There is considerable concern about the issue of young people injuring themselves intentionally. Can you use statistics to better understand the seriousness of this problem by estimating the proportion of college students who have attempted to injure themselves? On an issue of less societal importance, can you estimate what proportion of people believe that Elvis Presley faked his widely reported death, and would it matter which people you asked? Or consider a different kind of question, which may appear whimsical but may prove important: Do candy lovers live longer than other people? If so, is candy a secret to long life? In this topic, you will begin to study issues related to these questions, focusing on concerns that limit the scope of conclusions you can draw from some statistical studies.


You have begun to understand that data can be useful for gaining insights into interesting questions. But to what extent can statistics provide answers to these questions? This topic begins your introduction to key concepts that determine the scope of conclusions you can draw from a study. For example, when can you generalize the results of a study to a larger group than those used in the study itself? Also, why can't you always conclude that one variable affects another when a study shows a relationship between the variables?

As you consider those questions, you will encounter some more fundamental terms, such as population and sample, parameter ...

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