Category Archives: Bayesian statistics

Facilitated elicitation of the beta distribution

This module was presented at the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings.

You can download the module here.

The module above is intended to help statisticians and experts communicate better. It is specifically designed with the problem of the prior elicitation of a population proportion in mind (e.g. the binomial parameter π, or p), using the mode/percentile method. This module is still in its design stage. Like all BaylorISMs modules, it comes with absolutely no guarantee.

The slides from the 2013 JSM talk concerning this module are now posted! You can find them either below OR here for higher resolution.

Bayesian estimation of a population proportion

Bayesian estimation of a population proportion

The Basics

In statistics, a binomial proportion confidence interval is a confidence interval for a proportion in a statistical population. It uses the proportion estimated in a statistical sample and allows for sampling error. There are several formulas for a binomial confidence interval, but all of them rely on the assumption of a binomial distribution. In general, a binomial distribution applies when an experiment is repeated a fixed number of times, each trial of the experiment has two possible outcomes (labeled arbitrarily success and failure), the probability of success is the same for each trial, and the trials are statistically independent.

A simple example of a binomial distribution is the set of various possible outcomes, and their probabilities, for the number of heads observed when a (not necessarily fair) coin is flipped ten times. The observed binomial proportion is the fraction of the flips which turn out to be heads. Given this observed proportion, the confidence interval for the true proportion innate in that coin is a range of possible proportions which may contain the true proportion. A 95% confidence interval for the proportion, for instance, will contain the true proportion 95% of the times that the procedure for constructing the confidence interval is employed.

There are several ways to compute a confidence interval for a binomial proportion. The normal approximation interval is the simplest formula, and the one introduced in most basic Statistics classes and textbooks. This formula, however, is based on an approximation that does not always work well. Several competing formulas are available that perform better, especially for situations with a small sample size and a proportion very close to zero or one. The choice of interval will depend on how important it is to use a simple and easy-to-explain interval versus the desire for better accuracy.

Mathematical Overview and Module Walk-Through

Bayesian estimation (Bernoulli parameter) module