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Janet Lin
Writing 2
4 December 2015
Statistics. A unique field of study, it analyzes vast amounts of data ranging from test
scores to weather forecasts. Statistics is all about uncertainty and how to persuade people with
numbers. Right now, you may be uncertain of whether to take a statistics course. However, dont
be. The perk of studying this discipline is that the skills developed are transferable between
different disciplines as well as throughout daily life. In order to understand statistical jargon and
the technical process of statistics, only statisticians and people with in-depth knowledge are
considered part of its discourse community. Using genres such as style of teaching, academic
journals, and syllabus, one can perceive the rhetorical techniques that statisticians apply in the
In a classroom setting, statistics professors emphasize the values of thoroughness and
clarity through ethos and logos. Professors at University of California, Santa Barbara are welleducated in their field of study, satisfying the ethos aspect. In statistics, numbers are powerful
persuasive pieces of evidence that either support or reject a claim. However, numbers without
thorough explanations are just as meaningless as weak explanations without proper evidence.
According to the syllabus of my PSTAT 5A class, this class helps students understand how to
describe data...numerically (Herndon, Syllabus). Through the use of logos, Professor Herndon
instructs based on a fixed setup. In every lecture, he takes notes along with us while projecting
the paper onto a screen. I find this method effective because it allows students to analyze and

process the new information by seeing where the professor is pulling the numbers from and why.
In order to be as thorough as possible, Professor Herndon follows the same format when solving
each problem: state the probability, draw a diagram, write necessary formulas, and provide
interpretations. This type of reasoning accurately depicts the style of this discipline--repetition.
With a set arrangement, students who did not attend class may be able to catch up by going
through the examples the teacher posted. Once mastered, another aspect comes into play, clarity.
Visual diagrams are powerful representations of expressing conclusions clearly, which
help novices better grasp the outcomes. By plotting all the points on a graph, one can clearly see
the trends and correlations of the data. A short explanation of the graph is provided to give
students a better knowledge of the trends they are looking at. If graphed correctly, diagrams are
easy ways to depict findings with few words.
On the other hand, whereas diagrams convey data with as few words as possible, the
academic journal Cluster-based Multivariate Regression, by Hong Choon Ong and Ekele Alih,
demonstrates the same concepts primarily through its format and writing style. Aimed towards
specialists in this area, the journal is broken down into several sections, each serving a different
function. The abstract allows the specialists to get a glimpse of the purpose of the paper, whereas
the keywords section highlights the topic addressed. Since statistics consists of highly
mechanical processes and reproducibility, the authors incorporate formulas and work processes
to allow readers to follow along and know how the authors are getting their answers. Diction is
another aspect emphasized in academic journal articles. Since academic journals tend to be
objective, the use of pronouns, such as I and you, are avoided. Such pronouns make a
writing more personal, which is not an aspect of academic journals. In addition, statistical jargon
are scattered throughout the article with little to no explanations. The article also picks action

words to depict a better understanding of the concepts. In the section about the OGK Algorithm,
simple words and phrases such as denote and set...thevector are keywords that guide the
readers to calculate such problems. Tables, formulas, and explanations are incorporated
throughout the journal to enhance clarity and understanding. Throughout the entire article, the
tone is formal and objective. The authors select more complex and sophisticated vocabulary in
order to sound more knowledgeable in their area of expertise. Clearly, statistics can be portrayed
through as few words as possible, or through a piece that portrays its message solely through
writing and its structures.
Practice makes perfect. Due to its highly mechanical process, statistics can be mastered
through practice. It is imperative to establish strong fundamental basis from the beginning, as
topics build upon each other as one advances. Since the processes of each statistics problem are
generally similar, Professor Herndon always provide ample problems in class. By solving
different types of questions with similar processes, students are then able to grasp the concepts as
they familiarize themselves with the necessary steps. Professor Herndon also posts extra practice
problems in order to test our knowledge. As students familiarize themselves more with the
processes and knowing when to use which formula, the answers calculated will always be
reproducible. Overall, repetition and practice is crucial in developing a strong basis in statistics.
Overall, the rhetorical devices used by statisticians help convey the type of discipline
statistics is. Through the emphasis on thoroughness, clarity, and objectivity, it can be concluded
that statistics is a straight-forward discipline that can be perfected through practice. Professors of
this discipline pinpoint thoroughness and clarity in each problem through teaching, whereas
scholars in this field also emphasize the same concepts through logos and specific writing styles.
Though various genres utilize various rhetorical devices to convey their message, the overall

purpose and nature of statistics remains the same. Sodid you make up your mind yet about
taking this course?
Works Cited
Alih, Ekele; Hong Choon Ong, Cluster-based Multivariate Regression. Pakistan
Journal of Statistics 31.5 (2015): 515-537. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.