Understanding Statistics through Physically Manipulating Data

The rise of Big Data, social networking, and mobile interactions coupled with an accelerating increase in the amount of structured and unstructured information enabled by cloud based technologies is forcing organizations to focus on information that is most relevant, value-generating, and risk-related. Problems arise when we make decisions based on good enough metrics (e.g. means) instead of proper statistical methods (e.g. T-tests, ANOVA). The issue is that everyday business workers need to understand statistics in a cloud centered world. In this proposal we hypothesize that data that is animated through physical manipulation (e.g. metaphors such as `pulling out data’, ‘massaging the data’ etc.) will result in improved understanding of statistical methods and greater acceptance of such methods in the workplace. Our research is primarily based off the successful presentations of animated statistics by Hans Rosling at TED [9]. We propose to build upon this successful teaching technique by further incorporating commonly used physical manipulation metaphors to facilitate statistical data analysis.

Sowmya Somanath
Superviseur universitaire: 
Dr. Ehud Sharlin
Project Year: