Johnny Takes on Stats for Informatics: Simple steps in Hypothesis Tests

Dahlia Hegab, Sonny Lin and Vijay Krishna Palepu



At many universities, graduates students, researchers, and faculty engage in research projects without having a keen grasp of statistical concepts and methods. We introduce a novel application titled Johnny Takes on Stats in Informatics, in an attempt to succinctly and clearly define relevant concepts in statistics that become crucial to conducting research in an accurate manner. We draw on storytelling narratives, such as those used in Rapunsel ( and Alice 3D (, while integrating a JS application designed to walk researchers through the process of using on-line tools (here we use Google Trends) and data set files to analyze statistical information found on-line. We cite potential causes of concern in using data sets from Google Trends (and similar data set providers) and discuss future considerations for statistical learning applications such as Johnny Takes on Stats in Informatics.


Motivation and Purpose

The purpose of this narrative tutorial on statistical methods is to establish a simplified way for students to learn statistical concepts that are grounded in real-life examples. In addition to a narrative, we present an interface that allows students to interact with data sets that are accessible online. Additionally, we integrate this interface with information designed to clarify concepts in statistics, while demonstrating how to use those concepts in conjunction with research protocols and technologies like Google Trends (

The goal is to give students interested in doing research a fun way to quickly and clearly understand critical concepts in statistics, needed to continue to experiment with their own data sets (or online ones) so they can interpret future data sets they work with in meaningful and statistically sound ways. while allowing them the opportunity to walk through real-life example data sets that they can access and manipulate for future use. This tutorial is also designed to help students gain the foundation

Overview of the Application

Our application, titled “Johnny Takes on Stats for Informatics”, is an extension of earlier works that create storytelling modules to teach complex subject material. Using a simplified methodology of storytelling instructional guides, inspired by instructional applications like Alice 3D and websites like and http://vectors.usc.ed