Significant

This is probably one of the biggest problematic terms involved with data. In many everyday English language conversations, when we say something “is significant” we usually mean that it’s meaningful or important. However, in strictly statistical terms, saying...

Normal

Another word to reconsider using is normal. It’s just not worth all the implications for a very small amount of technical statistical accuracy. The technical dictionary definition of the word includes stuff like “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”...

Big Data

(Suggested by Jen) Much like significance, we should stop using the term big data. There is no longer one coherent meaning for this word. It was once used to mean something about the actual size of a dataset. But now it is used a synonym for the size of a...

Impact

(Suggested by Kwame) Impact is a tricky word when working with data. It has been abused and misused often to avoid equity issues, so it’s good to take some extra time when you see someone using it. In one everyday sense, impact is when something hits or makes contact...

Error

Error is a measure of an estimate’s precision—if you’re a statistician. To everyone else, errors are just mistakes. Error is a sort of difference, really. The difference between an observed value and its corresponding theoretical value. So it doesn’t mean ‘a mistake’....