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Playing with Numbers: Bringing Statistics to Life in the Undergraduate Classroom
Unformatted Document Text:  Nordyke, Moulton and Nesbit  Page 7    are assigned to topics accordingly). The student topic group becomes the “principal investigators” to analyze the assigned topic, using students enrolled in the undergraduate statistics course as the “population” from which to understand the topic. Students assist in designing survey questions related to the topic, participate in the administration of a class survey, and assist in the formation of the class “database.” The database formation stage of the statistical analysis project fits well with the introduction to statistical analysis portion of most textbooks. As students are learning about variables and different levels of measurement, they are asked to identify variables related to their topics at various levels of measurement. Each topic group identifies a set of dependent variables related to their topic and independent variables that may influence their dependent variables. They are then guided through the process of creating survey questions to measure their identified variables. These tasks supplement homework assignments during the first few weeks of the course. The instructor then collects the possible survey questions, and compiles them into a manageable class survey (typically 100 carefully selected questions), which is administered to the students in the class. The survey responses are entered into an excel worksheet and posted on the class website for student access. Describing Variables Using the Class Database During the second stage, students identify a dependent and several (five – ten) independent variables related to their topic that they will use throughout the semester for their statistical analysis project. . The instructor may provide several independent variables that will be used as control variables for all students. When asking students to complete the final analysis project individually, each student in a topic group must select a different combination of independent and dependent variables. They can choose different measures of their dependent

Authors: Nordyke, Shane., Moulton, Stephanie. and Nesbit, Becky.
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Nordyke, Moulton and Nesbit 
Page 7 
 
are assigned to topics accordingly). The student topic group becomes the “principal
investigators” to analyze the assigned topic, using students enrolled in the undergraduate
statistics course as the “population” from which to understand the topic. Students assist in
designing survey questions related to the topic, participate in the administration of a class survey,
and assist in the formation of the class “database.”
The database formation stage of the statistical analysis project fits well with the
introduction to statistical analysis portion of most textbooks. As students are learning about
variables and different levels of measurement, they are asked to identify variables related to their
topics at various levels of measurement. Each topic group identifies a set of dependent variables
related to their topic and independent variables that may influence their dependent variables.
They are then guided through the process of creating survey questions to measure their identified
variables. These tasks supplement homework assignments during the first few weeks of the
course. The instructor then collects the possible survey questions, and compiles them into a
manageable class survey (typically 100 carefully selected questions), which is administered to
the students in the class. The survey responses are entered into an excel worksheet and posted on
the class website for student access.
Describing Variables Using the Class Database
During the second stage, students identify a dependent and several (five – ten)
independent variables related to their topic that they will use throughout the semester for their
statistical analysis project. . The instructor may provide several independent variables that will
be used as control variables for all students. When asking students to complete the final analysis
project individually, each student in a topic group must select a different combination of
independent and dependent variables. They can choose different measures of their dependent


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