Psychology | Statistical Techniques
K300 | 3376 | Hoffman C.


Course Description:
When asked to estimate the average number of sexual partners they would
like to have over the next 30 years men say 64 and women say 3. Women and
men must be from different planets right? The battle of the sexes will
live on forever? Wait. The most common answer to the question about the
number of sexual partners they would like to have over the next 30 years
is 1 --- for both men and women! Whew! Women and men aren't so different
in what they desire for their lives, huh? Women and men have more
similarities than differences?
Statistical thinking involves applying rational thought to critically
assess data and the conclusions that are drawn from data. Based on the
data given above how would you assess which inference is correct: Are men
and women hopelessly different or are they more alike than different? How
do you know which statement to believe? If you were a radio talk show host
and had two guests with opposing positions on the men/women debate both of
whom say they are quoting a survey by Miller & Fishkin published in 1997
(and the figures above are from the exact same survey) --- how would you
help your listening audience understand what the survey results tell us
about differences between men and women?
In K300 we are going to develop our statistical thinking. Each topic will
begin with a real life issue that we can use knowledge of statistics to
help us understand. The COAS general description of the course will hold
true as well: K300 will be an introduction to statistics and the nature of
statistical data; ordering and manipulation of data; measures of central
tendency and dispersion, elementary probability. Concepts of statistical
inference and decision: estimation and hypothesis testing. Special topics
include regression and correlation, analysis of variance, and
nonparametric methods. In case those topics sound a bit more dry than the
real life example above consider the fact that to understand our men/women
debate the topic we need to know about is measures of central tendency and
dispersion. It may sound boring and difficult ... but it might, just
might, be an interesting and manageable challenge. Emphasis in this class
will be on knowing how to apply statistics to analyze data and understand
data presented in the media, in your classes, in scientific journals ---
not on memorizing formulas (you won't have to). You will learn how to use
statistics programs to do some basic analyses as well (you didn't think
scientists did statistics by hand anymore did you?)
Homework will be submitted via QuizSite, a computer program on the World
Wide Web. Students will print out lecture note outlines from the K300 web
site for our class and bring them to class to help you organize your
notes. You must attend lecture to fill in the note outlines --- they will
NOT serve as notes if you miss class. Students can print out formula
lists, exam study guides and practice exams from the K300 web site as
well. Exams will be held in class and will consist of true-false,
matching-to-sample, and problems to be worked out by hand.
Textbook (required): McClave and Sincich, A First Course in Statistics,
6th edition, 1997.
Format: Lecture with in-class exercises, occasional handouts, and as many
student questions and as much discussion as we stir up.
Grading: Homework will be submitted via QuizSite, a computer program on
the World Wide Web. Exams will be held in class and will consist of
true-false, matching-to-sample, and problems to be worked out by hand.
Availability of the instructor: Many office hours (at least 6) will be in
a computer lab in the Psychology building reserved for our section of K300
during office hour periods. Either the assistant instructor or the
instructor will be available to tutor you on computer software we will use
in class (QuizSite and SPSS) and to answer questions about homework, the
lecture, or textbook.