Eighteenth Annual Applied Statistics in Agriculture Conference (May 4, 2006)

Earlier this week, I attended the Statistics in Agriculture conference that is held every year at Kansas State University. I had the choice of Tampa, Flagstaff, Montreal, or Vienna (see Where to go, where to go), and I chose Manhattan, Kansas instead. Go figure.

Several people noticed me taking notes during the talks and I explained that I was going to publish some summaries of what I learned on my web pages.

It is not easy to take notes during a talk. It seems like the PowerPoint slides don't stay up long enough, it is impossible to transcribe formulas efficiently, and there is no way to capture the graphs and charts that a presenter might use. So why do I take notes? There are several reasons.

  1. I have found that taking notes helps keep me awake. These talks aren't boring (for the most part), but it is hard to stay focused especially in a conference with multiple talks.
  2. I used to file the things I learned away in the back of my head to be used at a later date only to find that my memory was not all that good. If I write it down on a computer, then I can use a search function six months from now and still reliably retrieve the information.
  3. A talk might serve as the seed for an expanded discussion of the topic on my web pages. For example, one of the talks was about crossed random effects in a mixed linear model. This was a consequence of using a Latin Square design. Even just a few randomly jotted notes might help because I need to write a good web page about mixed linear models or Latin Square designs.

It takes a while to clean up my notes (fixing obvious typos, putting the concepts in a logical order, and making a flowing narrative), so I won't have the summaries for a while. I also have notes from a training class on grant writing, a short course on Bayesian statistics, and several other interesting seminars. I hope to put these notes up soon.

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Teaching resources.