Sometimes, two numerical variables have a noticeable relationship. *Regression* is a tool to help find and test the strength that relationship. In the simplest case, the relationship might be *linear* so we apply regression to a linear model.

This material is detailed in Chapter 8 of our text.

One of the simplest types of relationships between two variables is a *linear relationship* - say,
$$Y = aX+b.$$
In statistics, $X$ and $Y$ are typically random variables so we might ask questions like:

- Is there really a linear relationship between $X$ and $Y$?
- If so, what are the values of the parameters $a$ and $b$?
- What kind of predictions can we make using this relationship?
- How confident can be in those predictions?

Here's the plot of an example right from our text that relates the head length to total length for 104 possums.

Here's the so-called "regression line" that models the data. We might infer from this line that a possum with a head length of 101 mm would have a total lenght of about 94 cm.

Correlating wins and losses to stats in College Football

A line is the graph of an equation of the form $y=ax+b$.

The defining characteristic of such a graph is that it's *slope* is constant, i.e. if $y_1=ax_1+b$ and $y_2 = ax_2+b$, then

While that might seem complicated, it ultimately makes it easy to plot the line.

We can plot a line simply by plugging in a couple of points.

For example, to graph $y=2x+1$, plug in $x=0$ to get $y=0$ - that's one point!

Then plug in $x=1$ to get $y=3$ - that's another point!

Draw the line through both of those.

Here's a fun tool to see how the coefficients $a$ and $b$ affect the graph of $y=ax+b$.

In statistics, the forumula for a line will often be generated via software; you just need to interpret it. Thus it will be important for you to be able to plug a value like $x=1.234$ in to a line like $y=-5.8335x+0.8408$ to get a value. In this case: $$-5.8335\times1.234+0.8408 = −6.357739.$$

The possum example comes right from section 8.1 of our text. I took the data and analyzed with Desmos to get the following:

On the actual Desmos page we see something that looks like the following:

Of particular importance is the correlation $r=0.6911$ and the coefficients $m$ and $b$, which tell us that $$y = 0.8336697990278819x + 9.888233331751707$$

The symbol $r$ in the Desmos output stands for *correlation*, which measures the strength of the linear relationship. The correlation is always between −1 and +1 and

- A number close to +1 indicates a strong, positive linear relationship,
- A number close to −1 indicates a strong, negative linear relationship,
- A number close 0 indicates a weak linear relationship.

Check out this little snippet from our Data Explorer:

Note specifically, the `pvalue`

. A very small value tells us that there *is* a relationship between the two variables.