Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 327–342 | Cite as

Developing students’ reasoning about samples and sampling variability as a path to expert statistical thinking

  • Joan Garfield
  • Laura Le
  • Andrew Zieffler
  • Dani Ben-Zvi


This paper describes the importance of developing students’ reasoning about samples and sampling variability as a foundation for statistical thinking. Research on expert–novice thinking as well as statistical thinking is reviewed and compared. A case is made that statistical thinking is a type of expert thinking, and as such, research comparing novice and expert thinking can inform the research on developing statistical thinking in students. It is also posited that developing students’ informal inferential reasoning, akin to novice thinking, can help build the foundations of experts’ statistical thinking.


Statistical thinking Expert and novice thinking Sampling variability Informal statistical inference Informal inferential reasoning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Garfield
    • 1
  • Laura Le
    • 1
  • Andrew Zieffler
    • 1
  • Dani Ben-Zvi
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Minnesota Educational PsychologyMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.I-CORE LINKS, Educational Technologies Graduate Program, Mathematics Education Department, Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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