confusing statistical terms

Six terms that mean something different statistically and colloquially

November 8th, 2021 by

by Kim Love and Karen Grace-Martin

Statistics terminology is confusing.

Sometimes different terms are used to mean the same thing, often in different fields of application. Sometimes the same term is used to mean different things. And sometimes very similar terms are used to describe related but distinct statistical concepts.


Series on Easy-to-Confuse Statistical Concepts

September 29th, 2020 by

There are many statistical concepts that are easy to confuse.

Sometimes the problem is the terminology. We have a whole series of articles on Confusing Statistical Terms.

But in these cases, it’s the concepts themselves. Similar, but distinct concepts that are easy to confuse.

Some of these are quite high-level, and others are fundamental. For each article, I’ve noted the Stage of Statistical Skill at which you’d encounter it.

So in this series of articles, I hope to disentangle some of those similar, but distinct concepts in an intuitive way.

Stage 1 Statistical Concepts

The Difference Between:

Stage 2 Statistical Concepts

The Difference Between:

Stage 3 Statistical Concepts

The Difference Between:

Are there concepts you get mixed up? Please leave it in the comments and I’ll add to my list.

Member Training: Confusing Statistical Terms

February 28th, 2020 by

Learning statistics is difficult enough; throw in some especially confusing terminology and it can feel impossible! There are many ways that statistical language can be confusing.

Some terms mean one thing in the English language, but have another (usually more specific) meaning in statistics.  (more…)

Confusing Statistical Term #8: Odds

December 10th, 2019 by

Odds is confusing in a different way than some of the other terms in this series.

First, it’s a bit of an abstract concept, which I’ll explain below.

But beyond that, it’s confusing because it is used in everyday English as a synonym for probability, but it’s actually a distinct technical term.

I found this incorrect definition recently in a (non-statistics) book: (more…)

Confusing Statistical Term #7: GLM

August 9th, 2012 by

Like some of the other terms in our list–level and  beta–GLM has two different meanings.

It’s a little different than the others, though, because it’s an abbreviation for two different terms:

General Linear Model and Generalized Linear Model.

It’s extra confusing because their names are so similar on top of having the same abbreviation.

And, oh yeah, Generalized Linear Models are an extension of General Linear Models.

And neither should be confused with Generalized Linear Mixed Models, abbreviated GLMM.

Naturally. (more…)