6

votes

What does n=1 mean?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 06, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I see it in a lot of posts. What does it mean?

Medium avatar

(2301)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:10 PM

PUFA MUFA CLO! but YMMV.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 07, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Ooooh, those fancy pants! http://www.fancypantsadventures.com/

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 07, 2011
at 02:00 PM

Queston 4. Whether 1 is a number? Objection 1. Numbers are either politicians or suits of cards. But 1 is neither. Therefore 1 is not a number. Reply to Objection 1. Maybe 1 is also a politician, a young lady, or a suit of cards. I did not say it was not. The set of politicians, young ladies, and suits of cards cannot be properly injected into itself; the set of numbers can; therefore some numbers are none of these things.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:45 AM

...& 'n' stands for number

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:44 AM

.....& 'n' stands for number

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:44 AM

.... 'n' stands for number

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on December 07, 2011
at 01:27 AM

@Rose, my understanding of phrase "n=1" was not that it meant the population size is 1, but that the sample size is 1, since sample sizes are reported as "n=__" in the literature. However, you bring up an excellent point that when people talk about n=1 experiments, they are interested only in themselves, in which case, the population size is also 1 (and thus we don't need to worry about extrapolation issues).

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 07, 2011
at 12:42 AM

"n" does imply that there is actually a study or experiment going on though. Many “n=1” anecdotes are often not even a rudimentary experiments of “I tried A, and I tried B, and A worked best.” Many “n=1” anecdotes are a datum looking for a study. Sometimes people throw them out there for someone else to process (e.g. “I eat strict Paleo and my fasting blood glucose is 85”). Just because you have a data point doesn't mean you have a study.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 07, 2011
at 12:20 AM

....yep, 'n' stands for number

Medium avatar

(8239)

on December 06, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Oh, that's just your CNS talking, Lizz. :) CNS = central nervous system. Another favorite acronym of the IFMSTYEK crowd. "I've forgotten more stuff than you'll ever know."

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 06, 2011
at 10:27 PM

Um, for me it's just easier to type "n=1" than...all that stuff you wrote, P2. In "sciencey" terms, though, "n" is the size of the population being studied. Just to be perfectly clear, however, a small "n" says nothing about controls or rigor or lack thereof.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:42 PM

It means this is my personal anecdote with no controls or rigor or experimental design or analysis, but I will tell you about my personal experience and what I think and I will call it “n=1” to make it more sciencey sounding.

Medium avatar

(8239)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:42 PM

In scientific experiments involving subjects, "n = 1000" means there were a thousand experimental subjects. "N = 1" means, around here: "Does it work for me personally? Experiment, try stuff, trial and error"

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Or, as I prefer to think, "It's about me!" :-))

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7 Answers

best answer

10
Medium avatar

(10663)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:33 PM

Your own experience. The subject size of the "experiment" is 1, meaning you.

Medium avatar

(8239)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:42 PM

In scientific experiments involving subjects, "n = 1000" means there were a thousand experimental subjects. "N = 1" means, around here: "Does it work for me personally? Experiment, try stuff, trial and error"

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Or, as I prefer to think, "It's about me!" :-))

4
Medium avatar

(2301)

on December 06, 2011
at 11:17 PM

I don't know.. BUT I'M SO GLAD YOU ASKED. Everyone on here throws it around like a bunch of fancy pants.

Medium avatar

(8239)

on December 06, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Oh, that's just your CNS talking, Lizz. :) CNS = central nervous system. Another favorite acronym of the IFMSTYEK crowd. "I've forgotten more stuff than you'll ever know."

Medium avatar

(2301)

on December 07, 2011
at 04:10 PM

PUFA MUFA CLO! but YMMV.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 07, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Ooooh, those fancy pants! http://www.fancypantsadventures.com/

2
Cd2ff8c68dd1f1d539ad7f0ee94b0421

on December 07, 2011
at 03:32 AM

It means n^2 also equals 1.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 07, 2011
at 02:00 PM

Queston 4. Whether 1 is a number? Objection 1. Numbers are either politicians or suits of cards. But 1 is neither. Therefore 1 is not a number. Reply to Objection 1. Maybe 1 is also a politician, a young lady, or a suit of cards. I did not say it was not. The set of politicians, young ladies, and suits of cards cannot be properly injected into itself; the set of numbers can; therefore some numbers are none of these things.

1
7b11ed525ffa23bc7257684e27488a6a

(366)

on December 08, 2011
at 03:51 PM

It is the jargon dujour for a personal anecdote, but it is incorrect and misleading in such usage. Ned Kock has the answer why.

http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2011/09/calling-self-experimentation-n1-is.html

Actually Chris Masterjohn wrote on the subject prior to Kock.

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/09/how-to-do-proper-self-experiment-and.html

Both posts are worthy of consideration.

0
90f66d30d977b07694403b469b3f85c5

on May 19, 2012
at 12:59 AM

Thank you for asking this question.

0
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on December 07, 2011
at 02:21 PM

Off topic, but in case you run across it, YMMV is "your mileage may vary," which I find to be closely related to n=1. It's a way for the person providing the response to qualify it to his/her own personal experience and is not necessarily indicative of what others should expect.

0
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 07, 2011
at 02:03 PM

"Queston 4. Whether 1 is a number?

"Objection 1. Numbers are either politicians or suits of cards. But 1 is neither. Therefore 1 is not a number.

"Reply to Objection 1. Maybe 1 is also a politician, a young lady, or a suit of cards. I did not say it was not. The set of politicians, young ladies, and suits of cards cannot be properly injected into itself; the set of numbers can; therefore some numbers are none of these things."

-- From "Mathematics Made Difficult" by Carl E. Linderholm

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