STA 6166 (Distance) --- STATISTICAL METHODS IN RESEARCH I --- Spring 2005


Basic Information

Contact Information

Contact with the course instructors should take place via the indicated e-mail addresses below, and NOT via WebCT. Messages will normally be answered within one working day.

Text Book

Required: A First Course in Statistical Methods, 2004, R. Lyman Ott and Michael Longnecker, Duxbury-Thompson-Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA [ISBN 0-534-40806-0]. We will cover all 13 chapters. A "Student Solutions Manual" containing solutions to selected exercises is available [ISBN: 0-534-40807-9]. (To find the link to the solutions manual, scroll down to the Ancillaries section near the bottom of the above textbook webpage.)

Course Objectives

This is an introductory course for graduate students in the biological, physical, agricultural, or engineering sciences, who have little background in statistics, yet who plan to use statistical techniques in their research. Students having no background in statistics are strongly encouraged to take (or audit) a basic statistics course (such as STA 2023) prior to taking this course. Primary objectives are to: Secondary objectives: provide practice in using a statistical computing package to perform the basic analyses covered; introduce a few of the many "nonparametric" alternatives to the standard "parameteric" methods covered; discuss research data management to facilitate data analysis. Note that this course is very similar to STA 6126 (Statistical Methods in Social Research I). The main difference is that 6166 concentrates on statistical techniques for quantitative data, 6126 for categorical data.

Grading and Other Policies

Course Syllabus, Lecture Notes, Practice Problems

The course is organized into 5 units, each comprised of several sections. There are about 30 lectures in total, each a downloadable narrated PowerPointŪ slide presentation. A PowerPoint ViewerŪ can be downloaded from the Utilities section of this page to allow viewing of the lectures. No special hardware or software is needed to view the course lectures, but you may have trouble downloading them if you have a slow internet connection. For such cases, a CD of the lectures is available upon request. An investment in a comfortable pair of headphones will also make listening to the lectures easier. There are video segments in the lectures that require you to have video player software (such as Windows Media Player, Realtime Player or Quicktime player). If the video does not automatically play you may have to download and install a small video codex program from the Utilities section of this page. You are strongly advised to do all the exercises in the book whose solutions appear in the back (mostly odds). Assignment and Quiz questions will be similar. You'll also find it helpful to augment the lecture notes by reading the appropriate sections in the book. In the lecture notes you will occasionally see/hear references to self-tests and practice problems. Disregard these and any other similar instructions that are in the notes themselves; they are remnants from last semester's course taught by a different instructor.


There will be approximately 5 Assignments, each involving an extensive statistical analysis of a dataset, and subsequent writing of a report. Your analysis should be typeset in the form of a report (like a paper), with any pertaining graphs and tables clearly labeled, and incorporated into one document. Submit a hard copy of your assignment via regular mail to:

Prof. Alex Trindade
Dept. of Statistics
University of Florida
P.O. Box 118545
Gainesville, FL 32611-8545

Include an addressed envelope (no stamp) if you would like the graded assignment returned, else you will just see the grade in WebCT. The due dates below indicate when your work must be received by me. No late work will be accepted.


There will be approximately 8 quizzes, about one every other week. These are administered through WebCT. Access is through your Gatorlink ID. Once you log in you'll see the link for "STA 6166 (Trindade) - All Sections". Four options are available on the toolbar (top right) of the page: My Grades, Assessments, Discussions, Mail. Click on "Assessments" to see the list of available quizzes. Start a quiz by clicking on it. Although each quiz is not timed, you are only allowed to submit your answers once. This is achieved by clicking "Finish". You can logout and come back in to the quiz as often as you choose (don't forget to "Save answer" to retain already answered questions), but once you click "Finish", that's it! A good option might be to print the entire quiz, work on it offline, and then return online to submit the answers. Each quiz will also have a deadline date by which you must submit it. You can check your grades at any time through the "My Grades" tool. Do NOT use the "Mail" tool to contact us. Answers to frequently asked course concept questions will appear in the "Discussions" tool, so check this before asking a question.

Statistical Computing, Software, and Other Course Resources

This course will require extensive statistical computing work, most of which you will have to pick up on your own. Since the software package you choose to do this with is up to you, the following statistical software overview may be useful. The course text shows output from MINITAB, SAS, JMP, STATA, and SPSS. The course notes have some example code and output from MINITAB, R, SAS, SPSS, and EXCEL.

You should probably select a software package that you already have access to (through your home department's computing system for example) and/or will most likely end up doing research with. Failing this, if you have no prior computing experience and are not very computer-adventurous, I suggest you use MINITAB. If you are more ambitious, computer-savvy, and plan on doing extensive statistical computing in the future, including preparing statistical plots for publication, I would encourage you to become acquainted with R; but beware that it is a steep learning curve! Follow this link to access some of my resources on statistical computing, particularly R.


This is meant to address the barrage of questions from students who can attend a regular live section of the course but would rather take this one for reasons of convenience. In my view the technology for offering a distance web-based course such as this one, is either barely there and/or has not yet been fully implemented here to its fullest extent. The slides which constitute the lecture notes are merely an outline of the material; much verbal filling in, reinforcement, and examples, takes place during a live lecture. The narrations we have added to the slides are only a first small step in this direction, much more still needs to be added. Also, questions involving formulas which can be quickly discussed face-to-face, become problematic over the telephone or via email. All this means a distance student must be highly disciplined and self-motivated, putting in substantial more time by augmenting the material with additional readings from the text and online discussions with the instructor. Be prepared to work hard!