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By Michael Wood

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Sample text

No, of course not. They’ll be roughly right but not exactly. Estimates worked out from probabilities like these are called ‘expected values’: they are what you expect, in the long run, on average. This illustrates how probabilities can be used for estimating totals over the whole populations. They are also useful for one-off events. Suppose you have to travel across North America. 25 Other things being equal, which would you choose? If you are sensible, you should fly. Of course, there are other important differences, but if your main concern is to avoid the remote chance of being killed, you should definitely fly.

2. This shows the frequencies in each ‘interval’. As an example, look at the second row of this table. The top of the interval is 20, and the top of the interval below is 10. 7 and 20, but not 21 or 10 (which is in the interval below). The frequency for this interval is 18: there were 18 students in the sample who drank an amount in this range. The middle points of each interval are used as the labels for each bar on the horizontal axis. 2 by hand. 31 The main purpose of a histogram is to get a feel for the general pattern.

Use the following method to take a sample of 10 words: number the pages of this chapter from one upwards, then use random numbers to choose a page. Now choose a word from the page by closing your eyes, sticking a pin in the page and then taking the word you hit with the pin as the first word in your sample (open your eyes at this point). If you hit blank paper, try again until you hit a word. Then repeat the whole procedure 10 times, and work out the average length (in letters) of the 10 words.

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