S320 | 15317 | Michael Trosset

S320 introduces the basic concepts of statistical inference through a careful study of several important procedures. Topics include 1- and 2-sample location problems, the one-way analysis of variance, and simple linear regression. Most assignments involve applying probability models and/or statistical methods to practical situations and/or actual data sets. Prerequisites: No previous knowledge of probability is assumed; S320 is recommended for students who wish to take a single, self-contained semester of statistics that emphasizes analyzing data. We will use several basic concepts from calculus; hence, S320 has a prerequisite of MATH M212. Who Should Take This Course? As reflected by the large number of introductory statistics courses at IU, there are a great many different ways to begin the study of statistics. The best way to have a positive experience with statistics is to take a course that provides the kind of experience that you want to have. The Department of Statistics offers three introductory statistics courses. STAT S100 emphasizes quantitative reasoning skills and statistical literacy. It should make you a more critical consumer of the quantitative information that you encounter in newspapers, magazines, etc.; however, it is not the purpose of S100 to introduce you to a variety of methods for analyzing experimental data. Both STAT S300 and STAT S320 emphasize using statistical methods to analyze data. Such "methods" courses come in a variety of flavors. Most describe recipes for analyzing data and use a statistical software package in which these recipes have been implemented. S300 is a good example of such courses. Many other departments at IU offer an introductory statistics course of this type. S320 provides greater emphasis on understanding fundamental principles of statistical inference than does S300. S320 differs from typical methods courses in the following respects: * Greater emphasis on why a method works. Many courses explain how, but provide little explanation of why. * Greater depth, less breadth. Many courses provide superficial coverage of a great many topics; S320 covers fewer topics, but in considerably more detail. Students desiring knowledge of procedures not covered in this course are strongly encouraged to take additional statistics courses. S320 is the gateway to majoring in statistics. * More math. S320 is not a theoretical course (like STAT S420) and it does not use sophisticated mathematics. However, S320 does introduce a good deal of mathematical notation and it does assume that students are comfortable plugging numbers into formulas. * Interactive computing. Rather than use a statistical computer package as a "black box," S320 relies on computer tools that simplify the computational burden but which require the student to understand how the analysis is to be performed. In a nutshell: Students in the empirical sciences collect and analyze data, often using computer software that they don't understand. S320 was designed for students who really want to *understand* what they're doing when they perform such analyses.