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  • 00:10

    SPEAKER 1: As you sit in your statistics class,perhaps you're wondering what am I doing here?How does this apply in the real world, and to me?Educational psychologist and statistics textbook authorDr. Neil Salkind says the answer hasto do with sharpening your skills around thingslike measurement, hypothesis testing, and problem solving.

  • 00:31

    NEIL SALKIND: It's being able to think about informationand being able to make sense out of it in such a waythat you can make decisions.And that, I think, is a real strength for anyone.And that's what you start learning when youtake introductory statistics.And the more you take, the more you learn.

  • 00:46

    SPEAKER 1: To demonstrate, we'll introduce youto three men: a psychologist, a variety storeowner, and an auto mechanic, each of whomuses some of the statistical concepts you'llbe learning about.It's about 9:30 in the morning in Lawrence, Kansas--a college town where local businesses on the main drag,

  • 01:06

    SPEAKER 1 [continued]: like Hobbs, a variety store, are getting ready to open.Owner Mark Swanson has run Hobbs for over 13 years.And when the lights come on and the music begins,it's time for customers to do their thing.There are a wide variety of itemsto choose from at Hobbes from clothing to cards.

  • 01:28

    SPEAKER 2: Ready to check out?

  • 01:29

    SPEAKER 3: Yes.

  • 01:29

    SPEAKER 2: All right.

  • 01:30

    SPEAKER 1: Cards are the number one seller year around.

  • 01:33

    MARK SWANSON: Every day is a card day for some reason.

  • 01:36

    SPEAKER 2: It'll be $18.45.Is it going to be credit or debit?

  • 01:41

    SPEAKER 3: Debit.

  • 01:42

    SPEAKER 2: OK.

  • 01:42

    SPEAKER 1: And many variables influence sales at Hobbes--even the weather.

  • 01:46

    MARK SWANSON: This year, because spring was so warm, our sweaterbusiness was gone.

  • 01:51

    SPEAKER 1: The focus is on profit margins, inventorycontrol, and selling merchandise quickly.

  • 01:57

    MARK SWANSON: The name of this game is turn.It's all about moving product.Not sitting there trying to maintain.

  • 02:05

    NEIL SALKIND: What I learned from what Mark saidis what he looks at and what he looks for.

  • 02:09

    SPEAKER 1: And such information can be displayed graphically.

  • 02:12

    NEIL SALKIND: Here's an Excel worksheetfrom Hobbs based on the information welearned about this morning.Quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 for cards.The same for clothing and the same for non-clothing.And here's a column chart that illustrates that information.

  • 02:25

    SPEAKER 1: Cards are in blue.Clothing in red.And non-clothing in green.And a statistics class can help you to interpret such graphics.

  • 02:33

    NEIL SALKIND: So you have to go one step beyond beingable to create these things.And you have to understand the relationshipbetween the information you have and the visual outcomethat you're creating.

  • 02:44

    SPEAKER 1: Here at Red Ink Racing,a European auto repair shop, measurements can besurprisingly straightforward.

  • 02:50

    CRAIG WALKER: If we are measuring an automobileto see if it was square, if it had been in an accidentor something, we'd probably start with a tape measure.

  • 02:58

    SPEAKER 1: Some measurements require more sophisticatedtools, like calipers.

  • 03:02

    CRAIG WALKER: This instrument hasan accuracy of about a thousandth of an inch.

  • 03:07

    SPEAKER 1: We asked Salkind to join us at Red Inkto help see the most important links to your statistics class:hypothesis testing and problem solving.

  • 03:16

    NEIL SALKIND: And so for example, this nice little Mini.

  • 03:19

    CRAIG WALKER: It came in with an overheating complaint.And we pulled it off the truck and we took a look at it.

  • 03:26

    SPEAKER 1: And inside the cooling system?

  • 03:28

    CRAIG WALKER: There was sludge.There wasn't liquid.It was more like butterscotch pudding.We formed a couple of ideas.And in this one it was a process of elimination.

  • 03:36

    NEIL SALKIND: So really what you end updoing is testing hypotheses just like social behavioralscientists do.You have ideas, possibilities, and youlook at several alternatives, and you choose the onethat best fits the question.

  • 03:47

    CRAIG WALKER: That's exactly it.Found the problem.Solved it.And what you see is the car going back together again.After a lot of experience, you'llpick the tool that does the job the quickest and the best.

  • 03:57

    NEIL SALKIND: Exactly what researchers do all the time.They pick the statistical techniquethat best answers the question they're asking.

  • 04:03

    SPEAKER 1: For psychologist Doctor Shane Lopez,a senior scientist at Gallup, thereare daily measurements of human behavior.

  • 04:10

    SHANE LOPEZ: At Gallup, we poll 1,000 people every night.And we poll about the presidential approval,we poll about how much money they spent yesterday.

  • 04:18

    SPEAKER 1: And they poll our psychological well-being.

  • 04:21

    SHANE LOPEZ: So we will ask if you smiledor laughed a lot yesterday.But we'll also ask you if you were stressed yesterday.Here we have four years of Gallup dataabout personal happiness.And what we'll see are some ups and downs along the way.And then here, we'll notice a spike in happiness right aroundthe Christmas season, the holiday season, and New Year's.

  • 04:41

    SHANE LOPEZ [continued]: And then there's kind of a down point.But then we spike again come the next Christmas,New Year's season.

  • 04:47

    NEIL SALKIND: It's as if he has his thumbon the pulse of how happy, how hopeful people areevery single day.That's as applied as you can get.

  • 04:54

    SPEAKER 1: In the schools, Lopez measures behavior.And then suggest strategies that teacherscan use to help children to think more hopeful thoughts.

  • 05:02

    SHANE LOPEZ: And that in turn gives themhigher levels of academic performance, and alsohigher levels of well-being.

  • 05:08

    SPEAKER 1: So why take a statistics course?Because doing so will teach you the very skillsneeded to help make good decisions in everyday life.

  • 05:17

    NEIL SALKIND: To allow you to impress an employer,or allow you to use these tools to make decisions,and to be a much more valuable assetregards to what it is you do.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Publication Year: 2013

Video Type:In Practice

Methods: Quantitative data analysis, Descriptive statistics, Hypothesis testing

Keywords: automotive skills; gallup polls; inventory; mood; polls; polls and public opinion; small business; Small business management; Spreadsheets ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Professor Neil Salkind visits a series of businesses and discusses how statistics skills apply to their real world situations. In each scenario he demonstrates the statistics principles each business is actually using.

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Statistics in Everyday Life

Professor Neil Salkind visits a series of businesses and discusses how statistics skills apply to their real world situations. In each scenario he demonstrates the statistics principles each business is actually using.

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