Welcome to STAT 800!

About this Course

Welcome to the course notes for STAT 800: Applied Research Methods. These notes are designed and developed by Penn State's Department of Statistics and offered as open educational resources. These notes are free to use under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 4.0.

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Course Overview Section

Understandably many of you enter this course under some apprehension, be it a math phobia or some other mental block. As a time expectation, students on average take 8-10 hours per week in this course. This is comparable to resident courses where students meet with me 3-4 hours per week in a classroom plus time outside of class completing assignments. We find, though, that the successful students in most online statistics courses are those students who do not wait until the last minute to complete the assignments, review the solutions or feedback provided, post questions on the discussion board as if they were in class, and complete the assignments on time.

Most importantly, like it or not statistics is in your everyday life! For instance, did you ever have your alarm go off in the morning and decide whether you had time to hit the snooze and still get up in time to get to work or class? This is a statistics problem: what is the probability that if I hit snooze I am not late? Or, when you go on vacation, shopping, or out for an evening and you plan on how much money to bring. Again statistics! You estimate how much money you will need and this estimation is based on prior experience, some math calculation (e.g. budget restraints), or some other considerations. Another common example relates to any medicines you take. Each went through an expansive drug study to be FDA approved and/or to be advertised as “working faster than Drug X”. Of course, as we see in the news with drug recalls these studies are not always performed properly! And finally, on a more personal level to all of you, when you go to study for an exam did you ever sit back and think about how much time to spend studying, or decide between studying or doing something else and still being able to properly prepare? Once again, a hidden statistical-based choice in your everyday life!