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Royal Statistical Society
Edinburgh Local Group

Welcome to the webpages of the Edinburgh local group of the Royal Statistical Society. We arrange an annual programme of talks and workshops intended to appeal to anyone with an interest in statistics. All of our events are free, and are open both to members of the RSS and to non-members. We typically organise 6-8 events per year, which are usually held on a Tuesday evening. Refreshments are available beforehand, and events are usually followed by a trip to either a pub or a restaurant.

Forthcoming Events

Monday 19 May 2014, 6-7pm

A joint event with University of Edinburgh Business School on:

Perceptions of the Weight of Statistical Evidence among Scientists
Speaker: Richard D. Morey
(Assistant Professor, Psychometrics and Statistics, University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Venue: Conference Room and Roof Terrace - University of Edinburgh Business School (29 Buccleuch Place, EH8 9JS)
Social: Tea & coffee available from 5:30pm, and a network drink reception is from 7pm afterwards.
Registration: Please to register here This event is free and open for everyone.

In science it is critical that claims be backed by evidence. Within the social sciences, evidence is often statistical in nature. Statistical outcomes such as p values or confidence intervals are frequently used to communicate results, and are often described using terms like "strong evidence", "weak evidence", and even "no evidence" which seems to imply that scientists believe that the weight of statistical evidence can be quantified using commonly-reported statistics. We present the outcomes of a questionnaire of scientists in which scientists were asked to evaluate the weight of statistical evidence in fictitious studies reported with commonly-used inferential statistics. Perhaps surprisingly, we found that many scientists deny that the strength of evidence is quantifiable given these statistics. Furthermore, scientists indicating that the weight of evidence was quantifiable were enormously variable in their estimates. The unconstrained nature of these epistemic judgements has potentially severe implications for science.

Presentations from Recent Events

Event in 2014:

"The Early History of Bayesian Statistics" on Tuesday 15 April 2014

Tom Leonard (slides) (.pptx file)

"Scotland's Referendum: Statistical Perspectives" on Wednesday 26th March 2014

Jim Cuthbert (statistician) & Margaret Cuthbert (economist) - The medium is (very much) the message (.ppt file)
David Walsh (GCPH, Glasgow) - Scotland: health, its determinants, and the potential implications of independence (.pdf file)
Roger Halliday (Chief Statistician) - The production of official statistics (.pptx file)
John Curtice (Strathclyde University) - The performance of the polls (.pptx file)

Event in 2013:

"Freeing the power of administrative data" on Tuesday 12 November 2013

Dr Stephen Pavis (slides) (.pptx file)

"Bayesian computing with INLA" on Thursday 19 Sept 2013

Dr Andrew Lawson (slides) (.pdf file)
Dr Janine Illian (slides) (.pdf file)

"Stories and Statistics: what can the Sally Clark case tell us about the psychology of evidential reasoning?" on Tuesday 11 June 2013

Slides (.ppt file)

"The mysterious case of the disappearing crime in Scotland" on Tuesday 30 April 2013

Prof Susan McVie: slides (.pdf file)

"Using statistics to study wildlife" on Monday 18 February 2013

Dr Ruth King: slides (.pdf file)
Dr Kate Searle: slides (.pptx file)

Event in 2012:

"Alcohol in Scotland: from evidence to action" on Tuesday 13 November 2012

Slides (.ppt file)

"Matching of administrative data to validate the 2011 Census in England and Wales" on Wednesday 31 October 2012

Slides (.pptx file)

Royal Statistical Society Interdisciplinary Debate on Tuesday 12 June 2012:
Randomized controlled trials in medical research - gold standard or unhealthy fixation?

Professor Nancy Cartwright: slides (.pptx file)
Professor Nancy Cartwright: talk (.docx file)
Professor Gillian Raab: talk (.docx file)
Professor Gillian Raab: notes (.docx file)

How much does statistical illiteracy cost? GetStats event on Tuesday 27th March 2012

David Walker: slides (.pptx file)

Local Group Committee

Committee for 2014 session

Currently on maternity break:

>>> Wiki for committee members (password protected)

Past Meetings

Details of past meetings are available here:

Further information

If you would like to receive email notifications of events that are organised by the group then please contact Adam Butler and ask to be added to the mailing list. Announcements of meetings are also posted to the ALLSTAT mailing list two weeks prior to the meeting.  

This page is maintained by Adam Butler. Last updated 16 April 2014.