“The Axiom of Research” and “The Axiom of Action”

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I attended a one-day seminar today on “The Role of Statistical Concepts and Methods in Research” taught by Dr. Tom Bishop of The Ohio State University. Dr. Bishop heads up a pretty cool collaboration between Nationwide (all areas of the company, including Nationwide: Car Insurance) and OSU, and this seminar was one of the types of minor artifacts of that collaboration.

Dr. Bishop had me on page 5 of the seminar materials when he introduced “The Fundamental Axioms of Research,” which he stated are twofold:

  • The Axiom of Variation — all research data used for inference and decision making are subject to uncertainty and variation
  • The Axiom of Action — in research, theory is developed, experiments are conducted, and data are collected and analyzed to generate knowledge to form a rational basis for action

The rest of the seminar was a healthy mix of theory and application, with all of the “theory” being tied directly to how it should be applied correctly. Dr. Bishop is a statistician by training with years of industry experience, so it was pretty cool to hear him emphasize again and again and again that you can get a lot of value from the data without running all sorts of complex, Greek-letter-rich, statistical analyses. The key is to apply a high degree of rigor in understanding and articulating the problem and the approach.

Lots of good stuff!

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One Comment


  1. Hey Tim,
    I read the post & can’t leave with out a comment.

    Are you ready for the holidays?
    I’ve been digging into the analytics side of SM2. Aaron adopted me full time, so I’ve been staying out of trouble. How’s your new job going?
    hmm, this looks more like a tweet :)

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