Quotes in statistics

Managers who don't know how to measure what they want settle for wanting what they can measure.


Since all models are wrong the scientist must be alert to what is importantly wrong. It is inappropriate to be concerned about mice when there are tigers abroad.

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Statisticians, like artists, have the bad habit of falling in love with their models.

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Once you get some data it does away with a lot of arguments and people can work as a team going after the biggest problems.


The only way to find out what will happen when a complex system is disturbed is to disturb the system, not merely to observe it passively.

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Data are not taken for museum purposes; they are taken as a basis for doing something. If nothing is to be done with the data, then there is no use in collecting any. The ultimate purpose of taking data is to provide a basis for action or a recommendation for action. The step intermediate between the collection of data and the action is prediction.


Statistics is the grammar of science.

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Since all models are wrong the scientist cannot obtain a "correct" one by excessive elaboration. On the contrary following William of Occam he should seek an economical description of natural phenomena. Just as the ability to devise simple but evocative models is the signature of the great scientist so overelaboration and overparameterization is often the mark of mediocrity.

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Every process generates information that can be used to improve it.

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An operational definition is a procedure agreed upon for translation of a concept into measurement of some kind.