Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Zebra vs. Hats: Exploiting the Lexical Ambiguity of the Word Random




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Words that are part of everyday English and used differently in a technical domain possess lexical ambiguity. Because people connect what they hear to what they already know, the use of a common English word in statistics may encourage students to incorporate the statistical usage as a new facet of the word they had learned previously. The use of words with lexical ambiguity, therefore, may encourage students to make incorrect associations between words they know and words that sound similar but have specific meanings in statistics that are different from the common usage definitions. One word integral to the understanding of statistics that has been shown to have lexical ambiguity for undergraduate students is random. Researchers in other fields suggest that in order to help students learn vocabulary instructors should exploit the lexical ambiguity of the words. Our poster will show the results of a study that is part sequence of studies designed to understand the effects of and develop techniques for exploiting lexical ambiguities of random in the statistics classroom and will include class activities and results instructors might obtain from the use of such activities.

Conference Name

Joint Statistical Meetings

Conference Location

Miami, Florida

This document is currently not available here.