Class Projects (Beth Chance)

Goal: To collect, describe, and analyze data to answer a question of your choice.

Teams: For the class projects, you will work in groups of 3-4. It is up to the members of the group to make sure everyone contributes equally. Teams should be formed by Week 3.

Topics: You are free to choose your own question. The question may be related to your major or some other topic of interest. You should choose a topic so that it will be straightforward to gather the data. You also want to make sure the topic is interesting to you! Be creative! We will discuss some previous topics in class, and some ideas can be found in the EESEE computer package, and the Handbook of Small Data Sets on reserve in the library.

Project Reports: The goal of the project reports is to keep you thinking about the projects as the term progresses. Keep in mind that your project may change and evolve as the course progresses. Still, with each project report, I would like to hear about your progress and ideas. Turn in one project report for each team, including team members' names and previous project reports, preferably typed. Below are some guidelines on what I would like to see in each report.

The first project report is due at the end of Week 3. For this report you should identify your topic/question of interest, the population you plan to use, and how you plan to collect the data (e.g. survey or experiment and source of your sample.)

The second project report is due at the end of Week 5. Your data collection techniques should be more clearly defined. If an experiment, give a tentative design. If a survey, give the preliminary questionnaire. You should indicate why this study is appropriate to answer your question and what precautions you wil take (e.g. nonresponse, sampling bias, wording). Each team is to bring in a typed report. These reports will be peer reviewed by other students in the course.

The third project report is due at the end of Week 8. You should have completed collecting your data. Include a description of your variables, their units, possible ranges/responses, as well as preliminary descriptive statistics and graphs, and what information you would like to gain from your data analysis, that is, what questions you want to answer.

The fourth project report is due at the end of Week 11. Identify the statistical tests you will be using and why you chose them. I will work with groups who want to use statistical techniques we have not covered in class yet.

Rough draft (optional) If you turn in a rough draft by the end of Week 12, I will review the paper, and give you a "projected" grade, indicating which areas need to be improved.

Final reports are due at the end of Week 14 but can be turned in earlier. Reports must be typed. Turn in one report per group.

Grading criteria of Reports:

20%: English, spelling, grammar, adequacy of charts and graphs

20%: Survey/experimental design - was data collection adequately explained and were the appropriate data collected to answer the questions and/or test the hypotheses and estimate parameters.

20%: Correctness of statistical analysis.

20%: Correctness of interpretations of the results of the statistical calculations and conclusions.

Presentations: (Other 20%)

Each group will give a 10-15 minute presentation (at the most) to the class during the last week. (The order will be determined randomly.) Any number of group members may present part of the report. The presentation should not include extensive details, but provide the audience with an overview of what was done, what conclusions can be drawn, any drawbacks of the techniques and future recommendations. Feel free to be creative.

Evaluation: Each person's grade will be 85% group grade and 15% individual grade. Individual grades will be determined by the instructor and by team member evaluations.

Checklist for final reports:

Statement of purpose/question of interest

Summary of data collection e.g. random sample, stratified sample, available data

identify possible sources of bias

Why do you believe sample was representative?

Summarize the data (concise, well-labeled, easy to read)

Numerical or quantitative data

Graphs: e.g. Stem and leaf or histogram

measures of central tendency (e.g. mean or median)

measures of spread (e.g. range, SD, IQR)

a check for outliers (e.g. z scores, boxplot, 1.5*IQR)

a check for normality (prob. plot, 68-95-99.7 rule) if needed by your analysis

Quantitative data

Graphs: pie chart or bar graph

Proportion in each category

Also: side by side boxplots

Statistical inference

Quantitative data

e.g. confidence intervals for mean(s), hypothesis test for mean(s), regression, ANOVA

Qualitative data

e.g. confidence intervals and hypothesis tests for proportions, chi-square test

Include a discussion of why our method is appropriate


Verification of any assumptions made during statistical inference

Interpretation/Explanation of results

What does it all mean?

Use the above summaries to justify your interpretation

Suggest reasons for what you have observed

Overall conclusion, recommendations, future questions

Incorporate computer output into the body of the paper or as an appendix. Raw data does not itself need to be included except perhaps as an appendix. You may assume your audience will understand all statistical terminology.

Peer Review Form for Projects (Beth Chance/Anne Sevin)

Team number or names:______________________ Reviewer: ___________________

(reviewer's name will be cut off before the team receives this)

Instructions for peer reviewer:

First read through the report, then answer the questions below. As you answer each question, reread the relevant section of the report. Think carefully about each question before you answer it. You may want to attach additional pages.

Remember that the goal of this peer review is to assist your classmates in doing the best possible project. Try to make constructive and useful suggestions. If you think the authors did something well, say so. Do not be overly picky.

Think about what kinds of comments you want your peer reviewer to make about your report so that you can do a good job (and get a better grade) on your own project.


1. Did the group do a good job of describing the project goal/question to be answered? Why/why not?

2. Did the group clearly describe the population they are trying to describe? Why/why not?

3. Did the group do a good job of selecting a representative sample? Why or why not? Are there any possible sources of selection bias which could make the sample atypical or nonrepresentative of the population? Did the group make any provisions for how they intend to deal with possible biases?

4. Did the group do a good job of describing the design of their survey or experiment? Why or why not? Are there possible sources of bias?

5. If a copy of the questionnaire was included, were the questions worded so that they would not be misinterpreted? Were clear definitions of all terms given? If not, explain.

6. Do you see any potential biases in how the measurements will be taken? What precautions does the group need to make? Do you believe that the data they plan to collect will be relevant to the objectives of the project? Why or why not?

Presentation Evaluation Form (Beth Chance)

Please rate the projects (Do not rate your own presentation) on the following items, with 5 being high

Introduction: Did you get a good idea of what the project is about?

Organization: Was the presentation well organized and easy to follow?

Clarity: Was the presentation clear and understandable?

Visual Aids: Did they enhance the talk or were more needed?

Conclusions: Did they present the final result, recommendations?

1. Jim, Sue, Joe, Ann

Introduction 1 2 3 4 5

Organization 1 2 3 4 5

Clarity 1 2 3 4 5

Conclusion 1 2 3 4 5

Visual Aids 1 2 3 4 5

Overall 1 2 3 4 5

How well do you think the group did?

How could the presentation be improved?

Any other comments?