The Fifth International Research Forum on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking, and Literacy

The University of Warwick, UK, August 11-17, 2007
SRTL-5: Reasoning about Informal Inference
SRTL Website:

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 12, Number 1 (Spring 2007)

The fifth in a series of International Research Forums on Statistical Reasoning, Thinking and Literacy (SRTL-5) is to be held in the UK from August 11 to August 17, 2007. The Centre for New Technologies Research in Education (CeNTRE), the University of Warwick, will host the Forum. In addition, the Forum is sponsored by The Royal Statistical Society (UK), The American Statistical Association (ASA) Section on Statistical Education, the Institute of Education, University of Warwick and the School of Education, University of Leicester.

This gathering offers an opportunity for a small, interdisciplinary group of researchers from around the world to meet for a few days to share their work, discuss important issues, and initiate collaborative projects. The Forum's focus will be on informal ideas of statistical inference rather than on formal methods of estimation and tests of significance. This topic is emerging from the presentations and discussions at SRTL-3 and 4 and is a topic of current interest to many researchers as well as teachers of statistics. As new courses and curricula are developed, a greater role for informal types of statistical inference is anticipated, introduced early, revisited often, and developed through use of instructional activities, simulation and technological tools.

We shall be looking at the ways people intuitively make statistical inference and how their reasoning develops or is revealed through instruction. For example, what is the nature of how people make inferences about a larger group based on single sample of data, how people make inferences about possible group differences based on two seemingly different samples of data, or how people judge a sample or sample statistic to be surprising given a particular claim about the population from which the sample was drawn or the model which produced the sample of data. None of this may involve formal statistical inference (P-values, tests of significance, confidence intervals, etc.). However, studies on the nature of this informal, inferential reasoning provide results that have implications for teaching and learning formal methods of statistical inference.

An interesting range of diverse research presentations and discussions have been planned and we all look forward to a stimulating and enriching gathering. These papers will address reasoning about informal inference at all levels of education including the professional development of elementary and secondary teachers. One outcome of the Forum will be publication of a CD proceedings as well as a special issue of SERJ on Reasoning about Informal Reasoning.

The structure of the scientific program will be a mixture of formal and informal sessions, small group and whole group discussions, and the opportunity for extensive analysis of video-taped research data. There will also be a poster session for exhibiting current research of participants on additional topics related to statistics education. The Forum is co-chaired by Dani Ben-Zvi (University of Haifa, Israel) and Joan Garfield (University of Minnesota, USA), co-organized by Janet Ainley (The University of Leicester, UK) and Dave Pratt (University of London, UK), and planned by a prestigious international advisory committee. For more information, visit the SRTL website at

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