Web page for the book *Active Statistics* by Andrew Gelman and Aki Vehtari.

Published by Cambridge University Press in 2024 (March).

© Copyright by Andrew Gelman and Aki Vehtari 2024.

This book provides statistics instructors and students with complete classroom material for a one- or two-semester course on applied regression and causal inference. It is built around 52 stories, 52 class-participation activities, 52 hands-on computer demonstrations, and 52 discussion problems that allow instructors and students to explore in a fun way the real-world complexity of the subject. The book fosters an engaging ‘flipped classroom’ environment with a focus on visualization and understanding. The book provides instructors with frameworks for self-study or for structuring the course, along with tips for maintaining student engagement at all levels, and practice exam questions to help guide learning. Designed to accompany the authors’ previous textbook *Regression and Other Stories*, its modular nature and wealth of material allow this book to be adapted to different courses and texts or be used by learners as a hands-on workbook.

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- Part 1: Organizing a plan of study
- Active learning

1.1. Flipped classroom and collaborative learning

1.2. What happens during the semester?

1.3. Active learning in class

1.4. Scheduling

1.5. Assessment and feedback

1.6. Some general issues in teaching and communication - Setting up a course of study

2.1 What to learn and how to learn it

2.2 Computing

2.3 Course material

2.4 Real data and simulated data

2.5 Two kinds of computer demonstrations

2.6 Challenges in learning particular topics

2.7 Adapting to your goals and learning style

2.8 Using these materials in introductory or more advanced courses

2.9 Balance between challenges and solutions

- Active learning
- Part 2: Stories, activities, problems, and demonstrations
- Week by week: the first semester

3.1 Introduction to quantitative social science

3.2 Prediction as a unifying theme in statistics and causal inference

3.3 Data collection and visualization

3.4 Review of mathematics and probability

3.5 Statistical inference

3.6 Simulation

3.7 Background on regression modeling

3.8 Linear regression with a single predictor

3.9 Least squares and ﬁtting regression models

3.10 Prediction and Bayesian inference

3.11 Linear regression with multiple predictors

3.12 Assumptions, diagnostics, and model evaluation

3.13 Regression with linear and log transformations - Week by week: the second semester

4.14 Review of basic statistics and regression modeling

4.15 Logistic regression163

4.16 Working with logistic regression

4.17 Other generalized linear models

4.18 Design and sample size decisions

4.19 Poststratiﬁcation and missing-data imputation

4.20 How can ﬂipping a coin help you estimate causal eﬀects?

4.21 Causal inference using regression on the treatment variable

4.22 Causal inference as prediction

4.23 Imbalance and lack of complete overlap

4.24 Additional topics in causal inference

4.25 Advanced regression and multilevel models

4.26 Review of the course

- Week by week: the first semester
- Appendices
- Pre-test questions

A.1 First semester

A.2 Second semester - Final exam questions

B.1 Multiple-choice questions for the ﬁrst semester

B.2 Multiple-choice questions for the second semester

B.3 Take-home exam - Outlines of classroom activities

C.1 First semester

C.2 Second semester

- Pre-test questions

Week | Stories | Activities | Computer demonstrations | Discussion problems |
---|---|---|---|---|

1. Introduction | Wikipedia Literary Digest poll of 1936 |
Design a study Design experiment to distinguish two hypotheses |
Collect and analyze simulated data Predict elections from economy |
Find the hidden assumption Find the hidden assumptions |

2. Overview of applied regression (Chapter 1 of Regression and Other Stories) |
United Nations peacekeeping Girls and sports |
Bag of candies and sampling bias Gather and plot data from students |
Graph of data and fitted line Tinker with an example |
Height and earnings Graph hypothetical data |

3. Data collection and visualization (Chapter 2 of ROS) |
Political leanings of sports fans Use comparisons to redraw a graph |
Measure handedness Scatterplot charades |
Download and work with data Make plots clearer |
Tell stories with graphs Plots of baby names |

4. Basics of math and probability (Chapter 3 of ROS) |
Death rate in the pandemic Galton’s giants |
Amoebas and exponential growth Squares, cubes, and power-law growth |
Matrix manipulations Compute weighted averages |
College admissions Probability of a rare event |

5. Statistical inference (Chapter 4 of ROS) |
They got the wrong standard error Claims of implausibly large effects |
Design a bogus study Think about effect sizes |
Simulate fake data and confidence interval Proportions, means, and differences |
Confidence intervals and true values Standard error for feeling thermometers |

6. Simulation (Chapter 5 of ROS) |
Proportion of identical twins Simulate a process of innovation |
Real vs. fake coin flips Simulate a probability process |
Break R functions Simulate 100 coin flips |
Discrete / continuous distribution Simulate clustering of buses |

7. Background on regression modeling (Chapter 6 of ROS) |
Slope when predicting elections from the economy Clinton/Trump vote vs. polls, and predictions |
Simulate fake data and fit a regression Memory quiz and regression to the mean |
Play with a simulated regression Challenges in setting up a simulation |
Examples of regression to the mean Uniform partisan swing |

8. Linear regression with a single predictor (Chapter 7 of ROS) |
\(5^2 + 12^2 = 13^2\) African countries in the U.N. |
Simulate and recover regression lines Socioeconomic status and political views |
Regression, transformations, and sample size Take average or regress on a constant term |
Predict elections from incumbency How large was the sample size? |

9. Fitting regression models (Chapter 8 of ROS) |
Ronald Reagan and the evangelical vote Does having a girl make you more conservative/liberal? |
Move a point and shift the regression line | Play with the regression estimate Compare `lm` and `stan_glm` |
From inference to decision Sample size and statistical significance |

10. Prediction and Bayesian inference (Chapter 9 of ROS) |
Fairness of random exams Uncertainties in election forecasts |
Coverage of prediction intervals Prior for a real-world parameter |
Different forms of predictive uncertainty Bayes estimate of childhood intervention |
Coverage of prediction intervals Prior for a real-world parameter |

11. Linear regression with multiple predictors (Chapter 10 of ROS) |
Incumbency advantage in elections Beauty and teaching evaluations |
Memory quiz with pre-test and treatment Design a study with regression in mind |
Regression with interactions Adding interactions to a model |
Regression adjustment Why look at a pre-test? |

12. Assumptions, diagnostics, evaluation (Chapter 11 of ROS) |
Actual vs. guessed exam scores Model checking for baseball analytics |
Sample size and statistical significance Assumptions of regression |
Take difference or regress on an indicator Simulate and debug |
Assumptions of regression Patterns of residuals |

13. Transformations and regression (Chapter 12 of ROS) |
Logarithm of world population Price elasticity of demand |
Predictive uncertainties Combining predictors to create a score |
Centered and standardized predictors Regressions with logged variables |
When to use the log scale Straight line fit to non-linear data |

Week | Stories | Activities | Computer demonstrations | Discussion problems |
---|---|---|---|---|

14. Review of statistics and regression (Chapters 1–12 of ROS) |
Biased samples and coverage of intervals The problem of too much talent? |
Self-selected treatment assignment Design a study to explore nonlinearity |
Causal inference adjusting for pre-treatment Simulating patterns of bias |
Sampling and adjustment Causal inference, adjustment |

15. Logistic regression (Chapter 13 of ROS) |
Item-response analysis of final exams Survey nonresponse |
“Two truths and a lie” game Predict the views of others |
Displaying a logistic curve Logistic regression probabilities |
Real-world logistic regression Where logistic regression makes no sense |

16. Working with logistic regression (Chapter 14 of ROS) |
“Keys to the White House” Opiate of the masses |
Job training and predictive comparisons Logistic regression with interactions |
Predictions from logistic regression Linear or logistic regression |
Experimental design Design with pre-test |

17. Other generalized linear models (Chapter 15 of ROS) |
Patterns of gun ownership Structure in social networks |
How similar are you to your friends? Alternative models for discrete data |
Simulating overdispersed data Generalized linear model with offset |
Identification in linear models Functional forms for non-linear models |

18. Design and sample size decisions (Chapter 16 of ROS) |
The multiverse and the feedback loop Lucky golf balls and implausible effect sizes |
Design an experiment from scratch Hypothetical study of left-handedness |
Design analysis by simulation Design for estimating interactions |
Designing a survey Designing future studies |

19. Poststratification and missing-data imputation (Chapter 17 of ROS) |
Estimating state-level opinion Environmental Sustainability Index |
Generalizing from class to population Experimental design and effect sizes |
Regression and post-stratification Random imputation |
Network sampling Problems with missing data |

20. Causal inference and randomized experiments (Chapter 18 of ROS) |
Varying treatment effects Ballot-order effects |
Potential outcomes for basketball Potential outcomes for ballot order |
Data analysis for basketball activity Sample and population averages |
Randomization and ethics Assumptions in randomized experiments |

21. Causal inference using regression on treatment (Chapter 19 of ROS) |
Pest control experiment Social penumbras |
Adjustments in causal inference Average treatment effects |
Benefits of pre-treatment data Combining pre-treatment predictors |
Causal logistic regression Holding all else equal? |

22. Causal inference (Chapters 18–19 of ROS) |
No effect of heart stents? The freshman fallacy |
Components of an observational study Study makers vs. study breakers |
Playing with least squares Don’t adjust for intermediate outcomes |
Individual and average effects Nudge meta-analysis |

23. Observational studies with measured confounders (Chapter 20 of ROS) |
Retrospective evaluation of a policy Postal service modeling |
Imbalance and lack of overlap Victimization and views on crime policy |
Poststratification for causal inference Measurement error models |
Effects of campaign contributions Effects and variation |

24. Additional topics in causal inference (Chapter 21 of ROS) |
Deterrent effect of death penalty Regression discontinuity mishaps |
Two measures of the same quantity “Why” questions and causal inference |
Instrumental variables Adjustment in regression discontinuity |
Effects of masks Admissions test coaching |

25. Advanced regression and multilevel models (Chapter 22 of ROS) |
Nonlinearity in leafout dates Governors’ elections and lifespans |
Nonlinear treatment effect When do students stop coming to class? |
Modeling golf putting in Stan Opinions on same-sex marriage |
Noisy time series 20 data points and 16 predictors |

26. Review of the course (Chapters 1–22 of ROS) |
Randomized trials in international development Is North Carolina less democratic than North Korea? |
Designing a paper helicopter Review in groups |
Quadratic regression Bias and unmodeled uncertainty |
Design using simulation Electoral integrity index |

- ‘This book is an extraordinarily rich and generous resource for teaching statistics. Full of stories about challenging statistical problems, the examples reflect all the messiness of real life, and encourage class discussion of what went wrong and how to do things better. The extensive collection of lesson plans and exercises provides a fine inspiration to adopt a different, more active, style of teaching.’ -
*David Spiegelhalter - University of Cambridge* - ‘This is a wonderful read for any statistics teacher. The focus on real-world applications and statistical thinking ensures that everyone will gain new insights and perspectives no matter how long you have been teaching.’ -
*Beth Chance - California Polytechnic State University* - ‘I have to say reading this book came as a pleasant surprise for me. I thought I was going to be reviewing another statistics book and instead, it was an insightful read on how to think about teaching statistics. I found it engaging and helpful in rethinking how I approach teaching statistics.’ -
*Pamela Davis-Kean - University of Michigan*