Benefits of Knowing and Using Statistics
It is beneficial to know and use statistics. Statistics are everywhere. Think about the news stories you have heard or read today. How many of them referenced statistical results? Did you understand the meaning or context of that statistic? It is easy to accept the statistics that you hear in the news. You might become more skeptical of a statistic, however, if you need it to make a decision that impacts you or your family's welfare. For example, imagine you are faced with a decision about whether or not to take a drug based on the statistical results of a clinical trial. Would you feel comfortable making a decision without asking questions about the statistical results? What questions would you ask? One of the themes of this course is that you need to become a shrewd consumer of statistics—and know which questions you need to ask before you act on a statistic.
This course focuses on how to use statistics and how to apply them to real-world situations. It is important to understand the various concepts in statistics and to know how they are used in business, as well as in personal situations. Upon finishing this course, you may find that your outlook on the real world has changed. Instead of accepting what you see, you may start to ask questions and look for solutions to various situations in your world. For example, understanding a stock's behavior in the past can help predict its future behavior. Or suppose a human resources manager at a large manufacturer decides to test applicants for a job but then interviews only applicants who score in the top 10%. How should the manager determine the cut-off score?
Do you have to be a math wiz to take this course? It is worth drawing an important distinction between this course and other typical introductory statistics courses. This course focuses on the interpretation of statistical results. In order to evaluate statistical results, it is necessary to have an understanding of the underlying calculations. Thus, this course will require some calculations; however, they will be in the context of statistical reasoning
Develop a report based on an evaluation of a survey and its statistical findings.
In this assessment, you will demonstrate your ability to critically evaluate surveys and their statistical findings.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
Assess the appropriateness of a sample to represent a population.
Explain the rationale for using a particular sampling technique.
Interpret the meaning of the confidence interval in the context of survey results.
Evaluate the impact of question wording on participants' responses.
Evaluate a study for evidence of bias.
Then, answer the following questions about the Gallup poll you selected:
1. What was the purpose of the poll? Write a brief summary. Include the title and link to the article within your summary.
2. What were the population and sample? Why is this sample appropriate for the population? What was the sample size? Was the sample size large enough to reflect the opinions of the population?
3. Were the results parameters or statistics? Why?
4. What type of sampling technique was used (for example, stratified, clustered, random, convenience, or systematic)? Why was this technique used? How were the subjects contacted? Was this method appropriate?
5. What was the confidence interval and margin of error? Interpret what the confidence interval means as it relates to the context of the survey.
6. What were the exact questions asked? Do you think the wording of the questions influenced the participants' responses?
7. Did you find any evidence of bias in the poll? If so, describe the source of the bias. If not, how was bias avoided?