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The following example illustrates a problem that is not binomial. It violates the condition of independence. ABC College has a student advisory committee made up of ten staff members and six students. The committee wishes to choose a chairperson and a recorder. What is the probability that the chairperson and recorder are both students? The names of all committee members are put into a box, and two names are drawn without replacement . The first name drawn determines the chairperson and the second name the recorder. There are two trials. However, the trials are not independent because the outcome of the first trial affects the outcome of the second trial. The probability of a student on the first draw is 6 16 . The probability of a student on the second draw is 5 15 , when the first draw selects a student. The probability is 6 15 , when the first draw selects a staff member. The probability of drawing a student's name changes for each of the trials and, therefore, violates the condition of independence.

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A lacrosse team is selecting a captain. The names of all the seniors are put into a hat, and the first three that are drawn will be the captains. The names are not replaced once they are drawn (one person cannot be two captains). You want to see if the captains all play the same position. State whether this is binomial or not and state why.

This is not binomial because the names are not replaced, which means the probability changes for each time a name is drawn. This violates the condition of independence.

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References

“Access to electricity (% of population),” The World Bank, 2013. Available online at http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.ACCS.ZS?order=wbapi_data_value_2009%20wbapi_data_value%20wbapi_data_value-first&sort=asc (accessed May 15, 2015).

“Distance Education.” Wikipedia. Available online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distance_education (accessed May 15, 2013).

“NBA Statistics – 2013,” ESPN NBA, 2013. Available online at http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/_/seasontype/2 (accessed May 15, 2013).

Newport, Frank. “Americans Still Enjoy Saving Rather than Spending: Few demographic differences seen in these views other than by income,” GALLUP® Economy, 2013. Available online at http://www.gallup.com/poll/162368/americans-enjoy-saving-rather-spending.aspx (accessed May 15, 2013).

Pryor, John H., Linda DeAngelo, Laura Palucki Blake, Sylvia Hurtado, Serge Tran. The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011 . Los Angeles: Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, 2011. Also available online at http://heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/TFS/Norms/Monographs/TheAmericanFreshman2011.pdf (accessed May 15, 2013).

“The World FactBook,” Central Intelligence Agency. Available online at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html (accessed May 15, 2013).

“What are the key statistics about pancreatic cancer?” American Cancer Society, 2013. Available online at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreaticcancer/detailedguide/pancreatic-cancer-key-statistics (accessed May 15, 2013).

Chapter review

A statistical experiment can be classified as a binomial experiment if the following conditions are met:

  1. There are a fixed number of trials, n .
  2. There are only two possible outcomes, called "success" and, "failure" for each trial. The letter p denotes the probability of a success on one trial and q denotes the probability of a failure on one trial.
  3. The n trials are independent and are repeated using identical conditions.

The outcomes of a binomial experiment fit a binomial probability distribution. The random variable X = the number of successes obtained in the n independent trials. The mean of X can be calculated using the formula μ = np , and the standard deviation is given by the formula σ =   n p q .

Formula review

X ~ B ( n , p ) means that the discrete random variable X has a binomial probability distribution with n trials and probability of success p .

X = the number of successes in n independent trials

n = the number of independent trials

X takes on the values x = 0, 1, 2, 3, ..., n

p = the probability of a success for any trial

q = the probability of a failure for any trial

p + q = 1

q = 1 – p

The mean of X is μ = np . The standard deviation of X is σ = n p q .

Use the following information to answer the next eight exercises: The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA collected data from 203,967 incoming first-time, full-time freshmen from 270 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. 71.3% of those students replied that, yes, they believe that same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status. Suppose that you randomly pick eight first-time, full-time freshmen from the survey. You are interested in the number that believes that same sex-couples should have the right to legal marital status.

In words, define the random variable X .

X = the number that reply “yes”

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What values does the random variable X take on?

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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Construct the probability distribution function (PDF).

x P ( x )
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On average ( μ ), how many would you expect to answer yes?

5.7

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What is the standard deviation ( σ )?

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What is the probability that at most five of the freshmen reply “yes”?

0.4151

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What is the probability that at least two of the freshmen reply “yes”?

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Questions & Answers

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