Nordyke, Moulton and Nesbit

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project” on top of the regular content in the introductory statistics course, who quickly become

frustrated with the enormity of the “additional component.” Our statistical analysis project is

thus not an additional component added to the course, but rather is **the fundamental method of **

**instruction** incorporated through every stage of the course. In this sense, the textbook becomes

a supplement to help students with the statistical analysis project that they are developing

throughout the course of a semester.

The statistical analysis project is designed to allow students the opportunity to calculate a

variety of statistics using real data (that they have collected and organized) in a data analysis

software package. Many statistics classes focus on teaching students the mechanics of specific

data techniques, such as calculating the variance or calculating a test statistic by hand, but

instructors don’t always show students where the data comes from, or how to calculate these

numbers using a computer program and interpret the computer output. Students can use the

analytic framework and statistical tools they learn in their future careers if they are properly

equipped with hands-on experiences. Knowing the mathematical mechanics of various statistics

is important, but it is equally important for instructors to “bridge the gap” between the

calculations that students do by hand and the ways in which students might apply such

calculations to answer real world questions using computer software packages.

There are four critical stages to implementing the statistical analysis project: (1) forming

the class database; (2) describing variables in the class database; (3) exploring relationships

between variables in the class database; and ultimately (4) bringing it all together and drawing

implications. Each stage coincides with the traditional content found in most undergraduate

statistics textbooks. However, rather than a binder of disconnected homework assignments,

students will end the semester with a completed “statistical analysis project” that will consist of