Using multimedia to visualize the concepts of
degrees of freedom in terms of sample size and dimensionality


Date: 2001

Developers: Dr. Chong Ho Yu, Wenjuo Lo, Shawn Stockford

Software: Macromedia Flash, Photoshop

Media: Interactive simulation

Description: "Degree of freedom" (df) is an "intimate stranger" to statistics students. Every quantitative-based research paper requires reporting of degrees of freedom associated with the test results such as "F(df1, df2)," yet very few people understood why it is essential to do so. Although the concept "degree of freedom" is taught in introductory statistics classes, many students learn the literal definition of this term rather than its deeper meaning. Failure to understand "degrees of freedom" has a side effect: Students and inexperienced researchers mis-interpreted a "perfect-fitted" model or an "over-fitted" model as a good model. To rectify this situation, two approaches of illustrating df in terms of sample size and dimensionality are recommended. To enhance the pedagogy of this concept, a multimedia program written in Macromedia Flash was developed. In the program different aspects of the above concepts are visualized and interactive features (questions and answers) are added to provoke the learners uncovering insights. Please follow this link to view the multimedia tutorial module (Note: the materials posted in this module are used in this book for illustrating "degree of freedom": Dancey, Christine, & Reidy, John. (2005). Statistics Without Maths for Psychology. Essex, UK: Pearson Education.)



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