STA 6166 UNIT 1 Section 1
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Preliminary All Sections in this course follow the same general structure.
  1. Section Readings - A listing of the sections in the course book that should be read.
  2. Instructor Guidance to the readings - Read this first before reading the book. This will help you to decide what is important and what can be left for later. Not all pages of every section assigned need to be memorized. Use this guidance to identify what is really important.
  3. Optional activities. Some of the sections may have further activities to help you better understand the material. These are typically a set of challenges related to an associated JAVA applet. To run these you will have to have JAVA implemented on your system. Most of you already have this, but in some cases you may need to install an upgrade to get the applets to work. Information on the latest JAVA tool for Internet Explorer or Netscape can be found here.
  4. Exercises. Following each section, there is a link to exercises that will help you prepare for the quizzes. These exercises consist of two parts: General Review Questions and Problems. The instructor has attempted to provide problems in four broad application fields: (1) Agriculture and Environmental, (2) Engineering, (3) Toxicology and Health Sciences, and (3) Community Development, Education and Social Sciences. You should answer all General Review Questions, then choose one (or more) of the four problems to complete, either by hand or using the statistical computer application you have chosen.

Section 1

What is Statistics?


Ott and Longnecker, pages xi (Preface) to 38 (Chapters 1 and 2),

Instructor Guidance

As you read the Preface and first two chapters, concentrate on picking out the answers to the questions below.

  1. What are the objectives of statistics?
  2. What is meant by a population in statistics?
  3. What is a sample survey?
  4. What is a simple random sample?
  5. What are some things one has to keep in mind when sampling a population?
  6. What are some of the problems associated with a sample survey?
  7. What are some types of data collection techniques used in surveys?
  8. How does an experimental design differ from a sample survey?
  9. Can you name a few of the basic experimental designs?
  10. What is an experimental factor?
  11. What is a treatment?
  12. What is a factorial treatment?
  13. What do we mean by interaction among treatment factors?
  14. How does an observational study differ from an experimental study?
  15. What is meant by keeping a "data trail"?
  16. What are the six steps in processing data preliminary to statistical analysis?


Many of the concepts discussed are covered very rapidly. Each section is typically covered by a full textbook or course so the coverage here is very superficial.  The objective is simply to familiarize you with some of the basic terms used in statistics.

"What is statistics?"

Basically, statistics is an area of science concerned with the extraction of information from numerical data and its use in making inferences about a population from which the data are obtained. The term statistics also refers to summary measures, such as totals, averages or percentages of measurements, counts or ranks. It also refers to a collection of methods for obtaining, organizing, summarizing, presenting and analyzing numerical facts in order to help make wise decisions in the face of uncertainty

"Why should you study statistics?"

The methods and procedures of statistics are at the foundation of much of modern scientific research.  Statistical methods help you design your studies to assure that they efficiently address the study questions. Statistics provides a framework for thinking about hypothesis testing and decision making and shows how you can assign levels of confidence to the decisions or conclusions obtained through the data.

Optional Activities None
Exercises To check your understanding of the readings and practice these concepts and methods, go to Unit1 Section1 Exercises, do the exercises then check your answers from the page provided. Following this continue on to Section 2.
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