Instructor: Dr. Julie M. Clark

Office: Dana 107            Office Phone: -6524

Office Hours: Posted here and on my office door. Additional hours available by appointment and by chance.

Course Schedule: 9:10-10:10 AM Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
Location: DANA 111

Course Web Site:
You will probably find it easiest to access the course web page via Moodle.
Please check the course web page frequently for updates in the schedule, handouts, and other comments or important information.

Pre-requisite: Appropriate score on the QR assessment, or permission of the instructor.

Text:   Introduction to Statistical Investigations,  by Nathan Tintle, Beth Chance, George Cobb, Allan Rossman, Soma Roy, Todd Swanson, and Jill VanderStoep Wiley, ISBN: 978-1-118-17214-8, 2016. You may purchase either a loose-leaf or electronic copy.  (website)

Course Materials:

You should obtain a three-ring binder for organizing your notes and keeping a copy of your text. Word copies of the text will be provided for you to submit as homework. Please bring your text (at least the relevant pages for a given class) and binder to every class meeting.

Statistical Package/Calculators: We will be using Java applets (that run on both Mac and PC computers as well as on iPads) for data analysis and exploration. You will be given instructions on how to submit your daily homework electronically if you wish for this course. You are also encouraged to use a scientific calculator. Note that a cell phone is not considered a calculator, and you will not be permitted to bring a cell phone to class on test days. You might find it helpful to bring a USB drive to every class session so you can save your computer work if you are not planning to save it to your H drive or on a personal laptop.


Statistics might be defined as the science of numerical reasoning from data. Its purpose is to aid people in making decisions based on the analysis of numerical information. Data and numerical arguments abound not only in science and social science disciplines but in almost every field of academic inquiry. Moreover, most people encounter statistical reasoning in everyday life. It is therefore exceedingly appropriate and important for all liberally educated citizens to undertake study of fundamental principles and methods of statistics.

Course Principles:

The following principles guide my teaching of this course and may help you to understand what I think the course is about:

1. Statistics is not math – it is not number crunching. Contrary to its popular perception as a black box collection of arcane magic tricks, statistics involves much more than numerical computations. The emphasis of the course will be on understanding statistical concepts and on interpreting and communicating the results of statistical analyses. In other words, you will be expected to learn to construct and analyze numerical arguments. In contrast to most mathematics courses, we will be using phrases such as “there is strong evidence that …” and “the data suggest that …” rather than “the exact answer is …” and “it is therefore proven that …” To alleviate the computational burden, we will often use applets and/por the computer program Minitab to perform calculations and produce graphical displays. You will find that interpreting and explaining are at least as important, possibly more important, than calculating in this course.

2. Statistics involves the analysis of genuine data. Supporting my contention that statistics is applicable in everyday life and in most fields of academic endeavor, you will analyze real data from genuine studies covering a wide variety of applications throughout the course. Some of these data sets involve information that you will collect about yourselves and your peers; others will come from sources such as published scientific studies, official statistics from government agencies, and various web resources. The contexts for these data will span a wide variety of subject matters, from medicine to law, from psychology to politics, from education to sports. My intention and hope is that most should be of interest to a general audience.

3. Understanding results from investigation and discovery. Class meetings will be designed for you to actively engage with the material, rather than passively taking notes while I lecture. We will work through activities carefully designed to lead you to discover statistical concepts, explore statistical properties, and apply statistical methods. You will be encouraged to work collaboratively with a group on these activities, while we will work through others as a class. In general, my role during class will be to mill about the room, answering your questions and prodding you toward a better understanding of the material. I will also lead class discussions and present explanations when appropriate. Please come to class expecting to participate, think, and learn.

Course Goals:

By the conclusion of the course, I hope that you have improved your ability to

  • apply and interpret the results of a variety of statistical techniques, including both exploratory and inferential methods;
  • understand many of the fundamental ideas of statistics such as variability, distribution, association, causation, sampling, experimentation, confidence, and significance;
  • analyze and assess statistical arguments such as those found in the popular press as well as in scholarly publications; and
  • communicate effectively your knowledge of statistical ideas, and the results of statistical investigations.


There are no formal prerequisites for this course. Certainly, no prior knowledge of statistics is expected. The mathematical level of the course is that of high school algebra. Although we will use computers extensively, you need not have prior familiarity with them. I will provide you with detailed instructions concerning the use of the computer and the statistical package Minitab. What you do need to bring to the course are an open mind for tackling numerical questions in a conceptual manner and a willingness to participate actively in class. You should also plan to spend 1-2 hours of work outside class for each hour spent in class.

Group Work:

I hope you will do most of the work in this course in cooperative learning groups of 2-3 students. You can work with your group in the classroom, on homework, on quizzes, and group projects. Each group is to act as a team in which EACH PERSON IS ACCOUNTABLE for each other person’s learning with no one person dominating or doing all the work. Groups should sit together for each class and will need to meet together outside of class! Working well in a group is an important skill which is essential for many of the jobs for which Hollins graduates apply. Some of you may enjoy group work more than others. The objective of group work in this course is two-fold: To give you moral support while you are working problems or are in class, and to develop skills in working effectively as part of a team.


In order to give you a variety of opportunities and ways to demonstrate your learning, your grade in this course will be determined by your performance on the following components, with relative weight as indicated:

Homework & Quizzes:                      25%
Q Projects:                                           15%
Two In-class Tests:                            35%
Final Exam:                                         20%
Attendance/Class Participation:       5%

Quizzes & Homework:

At the end of each week you will be asked to complete a brief online quiz about the material covered during the previous 3 classes. The primary purpose of these quizzes is to assess your understanding of the concepts covered and to provide both you and me feedback on your level of participation and engagement with the course material. The quizzes will be posted in Moodle, and you will always have the option of completing them individually, or as part of a group with a single group score. Quizzes may not be made-up or excused.

You will have daily homework assignments which you are encouraged to submit as part of a group (with a single copy containing the names of each participating group member on the first page of the assignment). Groups must not allow any group member to receive credit for a particular homework assignment if she did not fully participate in completing the investigation. Late work will not be accepted, so if you need to miss class for some reason, please check the daily schedule and complete the homework anyway.

The purpose of these homework assignments is to:

  • further your discovery and exploration of the course material
  • give you the problem-solving practice necessary to learn, understand, and apply the concepts and statistical techniques presented,
  • provide you with feedback regarding your understanding of the material, and
  • prepare you for the kind of questions that you’ll see on the tests and final exam.

Q Projects:

This course satisfies the Q component of the ESP general education courses at Hollins. To this end, you will complete two Quantitative Reasoning Projects in this course. These projects are designed to involve students in the application of quantitative skills to problems that arise naturally in statistics. They will involve using software to analyze data and then writing a report of your analysis and conclusions. Specific directions and due dates for these projects will be posted here.


There will be two in-class tests, tentatively scheduled for the following dates:
1) Wednesday, October 4, and
2) Friday, November 10.

If you are unable to take a test for any reason, you must make arrangements with me in advance! This can be done by speaking with me in person, over the phone, or via email. There will be NO make-up tests given – NONE! If you miss a test without contacting me in advance, you will receive a zero grade for that test.

Final Exam:

The final exam will be an open-book, comprehensive exam administered through Moodle any time during the Exam period (December 9-13).  You must complete the Final Exam in order to pass the course.

Attendance/Course Participation:

Regular class attendance is an indication of your interest in this course. You should come to class (and any office hours) prepared and willing to participate. You are expected to attend class every day and a record of your attendance will be carefully kept and factored into your course participation/homework grade.  The material in this course has a well-deserved reputation for being difficult and you cannot hope to keep up if you are not in class. If you miss a class, you are expected to check the course web pages and find out, BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS what material was covered, and to catch-up and be prepared to move forward. Any student that misses more than 1/3 of the total classes will automatically fail the course.



Please observe some common courtesies during class:

  • Arrive on time (but if you are late, please enter without disrupting class).
  • Do not talk to others when I am talking. Please do talk to your group/classmates when you are working on collaborative activities.
  • Do not allow your cell phones to ring in class.
  • Include your name (and course) when you send me an email message.
  • Include your name as part of the filename on any file you send.


I offer the following suggestions for how to do well in this course:

1. ASK QUESTIONS frequently (of me, of Nicole, and of your classmates).
2. Come to class every day (on time).
3. Participate in class.
4. Make use of on-line resources and continually review the material throughout the semester.
5. Don’t get behind or overconfident.
6. Use my office hours and the CLE.
7. Work together and help each other.
9. Write well, even if you are only writing one sentence.
10. Have fun!

Be responsible for your own learning!

I’m here to help, but ultimately you will get out of this course what you put in. Being responsible also includes spending quality time on the material outside of class, knowing and meeting the course due dates, starting assignments early, asking questions, accessing solutions and examples on-line, and reviewing your graded assignments for understanding.

Compressed Class Schedule (Delayed Opening Due to Inclement Weather)

Need help?

You are strongly encouraged to take advantage of office hours and of the CLE if you need assistance. Please feel free to come by my office anytime, or to send an email, or call me if you feel you need help. Success in this course requires a team effort. At a minimum that team consists of you, me, and your classmates. If you need help – ASK! If my office hours are not convenient for you, I’m in my office many other times, and am quite willing to set up another time that works for both of us. Please don’t wait until you are lost -understanding the material as we go along is crucial to success in this course!

Student tutors are available in the Center for Learning Excellence, located in the library. Hours are posted here, on the door of Dana 105, and at the Center. You may either make an appointment or drop in during operating hours. The tutors will assist you with your assignments and projects, but will not provide you with the answers. Always bring your notes and other course materials with you to the CLE.

Tips for Success when Working with the Tutors