How to Use STAT LABS
Index to site
The Design of a Stat Lab:
Introduction: Here a clear scientific question is stated, and motivation for answering it is given. The question is presented in the context of the scientific problem, and not as a request to perform a particular statistical method. We avoid questions suggested by the data, and attempt to orient the lab around the original questions raised by the researchers who collected the data.
Data: Documentation for the data collected to address the question is provided in this section. Also, this section includes a description of the study protocol. The data are found here at this web site.
Background: This section contains scientific material that helps put the problem in context. The information comes from a variety of sources, and is presented in nontechnical language.
Investigations: Suggestions for answering the question posed in the Introduction appear in the Investigations section. These suggestions are written in the context of the problem, using very little statistical terminology. The ideas behind the suggestions vary in difficulty, and are grouped to enable the assignment of subsets of investigations. Also included are suggestions on how to write up the results.
Theory: The theoretical development appears at the end of the chapter in the Theory section. It includes both material on general statistical topics, such as hypothesis testing and parameter estimation, and on topics specific to the lab. Exercises appear at the end of the Theory section. They are designed to give practice with the theoretical material introduced in the section. Some extend ideas introduced in the section.
Sample Chapter: Infant Health and Maternal Smoking (pdf file)
Guide: For further information on how to incorporate Stat Labs in a statistics course, we provide the Instructor's Guide (pdf file) from our text and an article that recently appeared in The American Statistician, Vol. 53, No. 4, pp 370-376.