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.