CISER to host bi-monthly statistical forum

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The Center for Interdisciplinary Statistical Education and Research (CISER) will host a University-wide bi-monthly problem-solving open forum for WSU researchers struggling with applied statistical problems in their research. The next WSU Statistics Forum will take place on Thursday, Aug. 13.

The WSU Statistics Forum brings together faculty from across disciplines to discuss fundamental concepts of statistics and share how those concepts can be applied within their research. Researchers are encouraged to reach out to Clark Kogan, associate director for CISER and assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, with a research design or statistics related problem they may be struggling with to present at the forum.

“The forum offers a setting for researchers struggling with translating statistics in their research to discuss with other researchers how to solve these problems. It also provides a place to learn what questions provide high return in ensuring successful experimental design and analysis,” said Kogan.

The forum was created after David Wheeler, assistant professor in plant pathology, highlighted the need for researchers to hold discussions that would support an improved conceptual understanding of statistics. Wheeler, Kogan, and Jave Pascual, director of CISER and associate professor of mathematics and statistics, set out to create a friendly and casual environment for participants to express their views. The forum is available to researchers across the WSU system.

“This forum is designed to bring researchers from across all disciplines and campuses together to discuss shared core statistical problems. We want to engage people that have knowledge in both statistics and the subject matter identified,” said Kogan.

The hour-long forum kicks off with a 20-minute presentation, followed by a 40-minute open discussion. Researchers who have identified a statistics problem ahead of the forum will present their problem during the 20-minute presentation portion of the forum.

The WSU Statistics Forum has hosted six sessions, and will continue on a bi-monthly schedule throughout the academic year. Topics have included the design of large-scale plant breeding or germplasm screening trials, characterizing soil health, analysis of un-replicated treatments, and discussions surrounding blocking and sample size calculation. While the forum has covered several topics within plant pathology, Kogan encourages people from all disciplines to attend.

“We started with problems in plant pathology because it was the first discipline where we saw a real interest and need for this type of group discussion around statistical problems. But we are looking to expand the forum to include any discipline where a researcher is struggling in applying statistics in their research,” said Kogan.

The forum is held through Zoom, which provides a way for people across the WSU system to participate, and is open to all faculty and students.

“We encourage researchers across the WSU system to attend. There isn’t a single location that would make it easy for people to participate in a forum open to our campuses across the state. For this reason, we will continue to host these forums through Zoom throughout the year,” said Kogan.

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