New Project Aims to Make Stats Research Accessible to Undergrads

ASA graduate students and postgraduates hope to make cutting-edge statistics articles easier for undergraduates to read and understand with their new project, Statbites. Inspired by Astrobites, an online “reader’s digest” for research in astrophysics, a group of ASA young professionals have come together to set up their own digest for statistics research.

Daniel Ahmed Alhassan, Joyce Cahoon, Michael John Grayling, Rashi Jain, Sarah Robinson, Sara Stoudt, Nick Thieme, Dana Udwin, Jasmine Williams, and former ASA Science Policy Fellow Amy Nussbaum are among the young professionals working to develop a venue for undergraduates to find summaries of new statistics research written at a level that stretches their understanding, but doesn’t overreach it. Meanwhile, graduate students and postgraduates will gain experience serving on an editorial board and writing to specific standards in roles as Statbites editors and authors.

“[I hope Statbites] will serve as a platform to communicate [the] proper use of statistical methods and models, and by so doing provide more insight to the user and help increase their confidence in the use of the methods,” said Alhassan, of the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Cahoon, of North Carolina State University, sees Statbites’ potential to “increase diversity and inclusion in stats, give under-represented students early exposure to statistics, provide others a foundation where they, too, can be liberated and can create meaning from data … and learn from data in an evidence-based manner.”

“My hope for Statbites is that it can become a publication that bridges the academic gap between undergraduate students and graduate students, as well as the ideological gap between practicing statisticians and lay people,” said Nick Thieme, American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellow. “Statistics is subtle, and subtlety—especially in the public’s treatment of data modeling—can be hard to come by. … Statbites could contribute to that understanding,” he continued.

Look for more news about Statbites in future issues of Amstat News. The Statbites team, working with ASA staff, hope to launch Statbites in early 2018.

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