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Course Information

Instructor Info:Elizabeth Conlisk
Office Extension x5519
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
02:00 PM - 03:20 PM Cole Science Center 316
02:00 PM - 03:20 PM Cole Science Center 316

This introductory course covers descriptive and inferential statistics, with examples drawn from the fields of ecology, agriculture, public health, and clinical medicine. The approach will be applied and hands-on; students will collect and analyze data as a class, design and carry out small individual projects, complete twice-weekly problem sets, and read and interpret data from the literature.  We will use the statistical software program, Minitab, as well as  Excel.  Topics include description, estimation, and basic techniques for hypothesis testing: z-scores, t-tests, chi-square, correlation, regression, one-way and two-way analysis of variance, and odds ratios. More advanced techniques such as multi-way anovas and multiple regression will be briefly noted. We will also discuss the role of statistics in the scientific method and the philosophy of science, although the emphasis of the course will be on practical applications in design and analysis.

Course Objectives:

Students are expected to learn the basics of descriptive and inferential statistics as described in the course description, and to run analyses in the software package Minitab and occassionally Excel.  There will be in-class work sessions as well as help sessions at a time to be determined.  Boqin Sun, a UMass graduate student in statistics, will also be available. 

Evaluation Criteria:

Careful reading of the assigned chapters.
Satisfactory completion of assignments by the due date.  Assignments include twice-weekly homework assignments and four review exercises.
Regular class attendance (maximum of three missed classes).
Participation in class discussions and small group work.

Late homeworks will not be accepted, but they can be included in the final portfolio for review.

Additional Info:

Office hours: Tuesdays 3:30-5; Fridays 1-3.

The text is The Basic Practice of Statistics, 3rd edition, by David S. Moore, which can be bought online (e.g. or for a few dollars. More recent editions are available but are quite expensive and are not substantively different than the 3rd.  If you should use one of the newer texts be sure to check the numbers for the homework questions. They might have changed between editions.

The data used for most exercises is available on the CD at the back of the textbook and on this website under News.