Jay Arthur is the author of the books, Lean Six Sigma Demystified and Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals, as well as the creator of the QI Macros software for statistical process control. He says, "In college, I struggled with statistics. Professors seemed to want to teach us the 'what' and 'how' of statistics, but not the 'why.' They used 'not' language to describe results: 'We cannot reject the null hypothesis.' People struggle with understanding the meaning of sentences containing the word 'not'. I confess, I am one of them."
From the Minitab Blog
10 Statistical Terms Designed to Confuse NonStatisticians I was visiting in Chicago year, when I ran into an old acquaintance  a psychologist who is a now a partner in a large, successful business consulting practice. I told him I had written a book which was intended to dispel the confusion surrounding statistics.
He didn't want to be identified or provide his picture for this blog. But, reminiscing about his graduate student days, he said, "The PhD students were terrified of statistics." Later, after returning home, I ran into another psychologist and I mentioned this to him. He said, "When I was a PhD student I was terrified by statistics. I'm not now, but I was then." So, have heart. statistics confuses almost everyone. He is president of the Pyzdek Institute and coauthor of The Lean Six Sigma Handbook. In an earlier "You are not alone" post, he described the "sheer terror" which some of his technical students have for statistics.
Here's what he says about his own experience: "In my opinion, statistics hypothesis testing is confusing. I have to take my time to be sure I don't make a mistake, and I've been at this a very long time." I don't know what mathematicians think. But I have been struck by inconsistencies in terminology and by disagreement about fundamental concepts among experts in statistics.
For example, I was watching a video in which a professor kept mentioning "scatter". I had no idea what he was talking about, but eventually it became clear that "scatter" was the same thing as "variation"  which is also known as "variability", "dispersion", and "spread". That's 5 terms for one concept. Here's another example: in the equation y = f(x), y is variously known as the
SST = SSR (Sum of Squares Regression) + SSE (Sum of Squares Error) But one author (at least) uses "SST" (Sum of Squares Treatment) instead of "SSR"  which is very confusing. (I forget what they renamed Sum of Squares Total.) And experts disagree about some very basic concepts. For example:
Thomas Pyzdek is coauthor of The Six Sigma Handbook and president of the Pyzdek Institute. He has been using and teaching statistics as part of Six Sigma process improvement methods for decades. Prior to agreeing to publish the book, Statistics from A to Z  Confusing Concepts Clarified, Wiley asked Mr. Pyzdek to review some excerpts. He replied, "This book addresses a real need and it seems to do it in a unique and interesting way. I especially like the humor, which should help overcome the sheer terror many people experience with statistics." Note the term "sheer terror". Mr. Pydek teaches the Six Sigma to intelligent technical people, including engineers. And he's not the only one to describe the reaction to statistics as terror  as we'll see in a future "You are not alone ... " blog post. from the Upshot column in the New York Times: nyti.ms/2cOi2n4

AuthorAndrew A. (Andy) Jawlik is the author of the book, Statistics from A to Z  Confusing Concepts Clarified, published by Wiley. Archives
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