Lesson 1: Collecting Data

Welcome to Lesson 1! In this lesson, we will be learning about collecting data. This is essentially a brief introduction to research methods. Depending on your academic major, you may also be required to take a full course in research methods after this course, which will focus on the methods used in your field. In this lesson, we'll focus on methods that are applied across many fields.

You will be introduced to a lot of the terminology that we will be using throughout the course. Because this lesson is heavy on vocabulary, many students find that making and studying from flashcards is a good strategy to apply this week.


Upon successful completion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify cases and variables in a research study
  • Classify variables as categorical or quantitative
  • Identify explanatory and response variables in a research study
  • Distinguish between a sample and a population
  • Determine whether a given sample is representative of the intended population 
  • Identify simple random sampling and convenience sampling methods
  • Use Minitab Express to draw a simple random sample from a known population
  • Identify potential non-response and response bias
  • Distinguish between experimental and observational designs
  • Identify confounding variables
  • Identify randomized experiments
  • Determine when causal conclusions (as opposed to associations) can be made
  • Classify samples as being independent or paired
  • Identify control groups, placebos, and blinding in research studies and explain why each is used