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Topic: EPR Approach to Intro Stat: Novelty, Practicality
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Donald Macnaughton

Posts: 8
Registered: 12/6/04
EPR Approach to Intro Stat: Novelty, Practicality
Posted: Jun 1, 1996 11:52 AM
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In an e-mail message to me on May 12, 1996 (which he has kindly per-
mitted me to quote), Bert Gunter ( wrote:

> I agree with what you say [in two papers about the entity-property-
> relationship approach to the introductory statistics course], but
> do not understand what is novel.

The intuitive nature of the entity-property-relationship approach can
draw attention away from its novelty and practicality. These can be
seen, however, by considering a brief argument:

1. Almost all empirical research projects *across all branches of
science* and throughout all branches of social and commercial en-
deavor can be usefully viewed as being studies of relationships
between variables.
2. Almost all of the currently popular statistical procedures can be
usefully viewed as being procedures to aid in the study of rela-
tionships between variables.
3. Therefore, it is practical to build the introductory statistics
course around the concept of a relationship between variables.

4. The entity-property-relationship approach to the introductory
statistics course is tightly built around the concepts of enti-
ties, properties of entities, and relationships between properties
of entities (relationships between variables).
5. Other currently popular approaches to the introductory statistics
course focus at most only peripherally on the concepts of enti-
ties, properties, and relationships.
6. Therefore, the entity-property-relationship approach is novel.

Most readers will agree that IF the antecedent propositions (1, 2, 4,
and 5) of the above argument are true, then the conclusions (proposi-
tions 3 and 6) will also be true. But some readers may question the
truth of the antecedent propositions, especially 1, 2, and 5. I in-
vite these readers to propose counterexamples to the
UseNet newsgroup that appear to refute those propositions.

I maintain that (while there are some questionable cases) if one con-
siders a large number of individual cases (of empirical research pro-
jects, statistical procedures, and approaches to introductory statis-
tics), one finds that propositions 1, 2, and 5 are well supported.

I believe that the main benefit of the entity-property-relationship
approach is that it makes the vital role of the field of statistics
in empirical research substantially easier for students to under-
stand. The approach is described further in material at

Donald B. Macnaughton MatStat Research Consulting Inc. Toronto, Canada

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