Applied Statistics
International Conference, 19 - 22 September 2004
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Less Parametric Methods in Applied Statistics

K Laurence Weldon
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver, Canada

Despite forty years of revolution in the tools available for statistical analysis, the current academic tradition in statistics is remarkably similar to the pre-computer tradition. This tradition is rooted in parametric modeling, least squares, and linear models. The paper argues for a shift in emphasis away from parametric modeling and data reduction to graphical display, from omnibus optimal techniques to those that are more context-specific, and from goals of objectivity to goals of revelation. It is suggested that certain modern topics should be included in a basic statistical education, and that more academic work is needed to achieve this goal.