~ a loose collection of statistical and quantitative research material
for fun and enrichment ~

by roland b. stark

yellow brick road to stats heaven

the most insidious statistical mistakes

Commentary on interpretation errors that are terribly difficult to avoid, involving conventional significance testing.

sample research questions

Sometimes it's useful--and encouraging--to see the range of questions one might address using statistics.

statistical detection of cheating

This paper of 30-odd pages explores the ingenious yet usually flawed methods that have been devised for statistical detection of copying on multiple-choice exams. The methods of Angoff, Crawford, Belleza & Belleza, and Kling are examined in depth, with some attention also given to the work of Frary, Wollack and Cohen, and others. Abstract and link to paper.

Comparison of Cheating Methods

illustrating partial correlation vs. interaction

It's easy to confuse these two. Unable to find a graphical representation that explained the difference to my satisfaction, I created the set of charts and brief commentary available here.

anova / ancova decision guide

Think it's easy to sort out the differences between ANOVA and ANCOVA? This look at empirical and conceptual considerations may make you think again. It includes a flow chart, glossary, and commentary and is available in Word.

Anova/Ancova Flow Chart

factor analysis decision guide

A two-page guide for those who are familiar with the sometimes wondrous method of factor analysis and looking for suggestions to guide the classic decision points: on applicability, method of extraction, number of factors, and rotation. Available in pdf.

what's wrong with value-added models in education

Eleven reasons why teachers shouldn't be judged based on student test scores.

my favorite books on statistics

In case you're not laughing at the very idea, here are some recommendations.


Occasional commentary on other researchers' methods and analyses. Disclaimer: some of this critique may be crabby, cranky, cross, cantankerous, or curmudgeonly.

recommended sites


Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

Ralph Lengler and Martin J. Eppler's Periodic Table of Visualization Methods is a gorgeous, ingenious, rich, and highly informative single-page display of about a hundred types of charts and diagrams for visualizing data, concepts, strategies, and more. Hovering your cursor over any "element" in this table will bring up a colorful and instructive example.

gallery of data visualization

All of Inflation's Little Parts

Michael Friendly of Toronto's York University presents a nice smorgasbord of visual confections. Some good lessons and also some good laughs.

Q & A on statistics: the crossvalidated community

crossvalidated site

A fine place to ask targeted questions on statistics or data visualization, or to browse through searchable questions, answers, and commentary.

I welcome any comments you would like to make, publicly or privately.

copyright 2007-2017 by roland b. stark.

yellow brick road

my statistical and research consulting work


It's easy to lie with statistics; itís easier to lie without them.

Frederick Mosteller

People think that if you collect enormous amounts of data you are bound to get the right answer. You are not bound to get the right answer unless you are enormously smart.

Bradley Efron

The best thinking results not just in a flashing fire, but in light emerging from the smoke.


Statistics' real contribution to society is primarily moral, not technical.

Steve Vardeman and Max Morris

There are times when not being quantitative is a kind of false piety which can only make obscure and thus more difficult the choices we must make.

John Allan Paulos

It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.

George Bernard Shaw

He always adhered to the truth, though sometimes he distorted it beyond all recognition.

Vladimir Voinovich

You cannot have a democracy without a statistical system that is objective and accurate.

Janet Norwood

Any problem worthy of attack proves its worth by hitting back.

Piet Hein

The researcher armed with a confidence interval, but deprived of the false respectability of statistical significance, must work harder to convince himself and others of the importance of his findings. This can only be good.

Michael Oakes

While it may be premature in some cases and unreasonable in others to expect to form lawful relationships between social variables, we shall certainly never do so if we give up the attempt.

Michael Oakes

Context matters. I can see a candy bar from a great distance when I'm hungry.

Ellen Langer

It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject permits and not seek an exactness where only an approximation of the truth is possible.


Ideologies drive us apart. Itís dreams, and anguish, that bind us together.

Eugene Ionesco

Let us work through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place which we call reality.

Henry David Thoreau

One must be serious about something if one is to find any amusement in life.

Oscar Wilde

Knowing that we are primates, I think, is a fascinating discovery, and a very interesting and rather cheering one.

Christopher Hitchens

I believe that one day a high-speed network of interconnected computers will spring up worldwide, so enriching humankind that people will lose all interest in idle chitchat and pornography.

Conan O'Brien