Statistical Inference and the Scientific Method: Making Statistics Relevant
Friedman, Hershey H. and Friedman, Linda W. (1999). "Statistical Inference and the Scientific Method: Making Statistics Relevant." Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 20-23, 1999. 291.
8 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2014
Date Written: November 20, 1999
The purpose of this article is to propose that we focus the teaching of the introductory statistics course not merely on the statistical tools to be studied, but on the scientific thinking that they engender. Students must be taught that science is based on the testing of theories and shown how statistics fits into the framework of the philosophy of science. Most current approaches mainly leave the student with the ability to plug numbers into a formula. A discussion of science, the scientific method, and how science works should precede any discussion of statistical testing. Illustrations of the problem of induction, followed by a brief introduction to Karl Popper’s principle of falsificationism, will be very helpful to students in understanding the logic of statistical methods.
Keywords: Falsificationism; teaching introductory statistics; philosophy of science, Karl Popper.
JEL Classification: C00, C10, C40, I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation