Statistics and Science
Statistics. It’s the word that makes almost every uni student cringe. Statistics is a strain of maths we use in most of our fields, whether psychology, biology or engineering, that forms the numerical backbone of evidence we use to present our ideas and theories to others. Statistics is the very basis of science, and it was all quite a shock to me when I first undertook it because of its equation-heavy nature. However, once I understood and began to practice the way statistics forms the skeleton of science itself, I became fascinated with the power and insight it provides me as a budding psychologist.
As other students complained that they may never use Statistics, I become only more determined to apply it to my every day life and my expanding skill set as I navigate my opportunity at uni.
Many consider psychology a “soft science”. Fair enough, it’s obviously not as easy to prove that people react to things in the same way as it is to reliably demonstrate something from physics, like gravity. No matter how many times I drop a ball, it’s gonna hit the ground. However, no matter how many people I ask about their childhood and how it affects their lives today, I will never get a straight answer. So, as scientists who are captivated by the mind, we need to think outside the box.
Whilst the content I’m learning is fascinating, where I do struggle in this course is in the lack of practical avenues available to apply all the calculations I’m learning. As in, it would be cool if I could think up and test real-world experimental ideas I’ve had, collect results from real-world people in my area and apply my recently-learned knowledge of data to analyse and explain whatever results I get.
As I ponder what this blog could become, I get the idea that I could be doing a little experiment of my own. Something of an interactive teaching platform, where you can even help me come up with hypotheses (a guess about how two things might interact if I tested them in a controlled way). Then, once I have an idea to test, I will publish a YES/NO poll of how YOU guys think it might go. This will help us debunk what kind of preconceptions we might already hold about behavior and psychology! Finally, I will go out into the world, test our theory, and report back with the results to see if we were right.
Since I undertook study at university, I’ve simply wanted to become some sort of science communicator. Someone who can make scientific knowledge easily digestible to the public, so that both society and scientists alike can collaborate on new solutions for this wonderful human, plant and animal race. This blog may well be my opportunity to demonstrate a little experience with that, and as a language-orientated student that forever struggled with maths and science, I am more than eager to start to practice and explain these concepts I’ve learned so that you guys can understand with me.
Art by Rio Burton, entitled “Night Rose”.