We’ve done lots of Stats projects over the years, mostly for Introductory Statistics courses. This blog post will go over some of the common patterns I’ve noticed in the projects for those lower level courses.
Projects are considered important because they typically require students to show their “critical thinking” skills as well as their communication skills and understanding of whatever topic is the focus of the project.
Like many other Math assignments, we have our doubts about the utility of projects for students who don’t care one bit about the subject, but that’s another discussion for another post. We’re just glad that there are plenty of students who hire us to assist them with their Stats projects!
Below are the main steps we follow whenever we do a Stats project for client…
Step 1: Read the directions, carefully
I often find myself asking clients to clarify certain aspects of the directions. This is mostly because I try to be very cautious. With our A/B guarantee, I must make sure that all bases are covered. By making sure I fully understand the directions, it makes life easier for me and the client (in the long run).
Step 2: Decide which dataset to use (if it’s NOT been provided)
You cannot have a meaningful Stats project without some kind of data. So it’s always nice when a professor provides the necessary data. Or if the client provides it themselves. But sometimes, we have to find it ourselves.
Finding credible data used to be dreadful. That was until I discovered is a wonderful desktop program called StatDisk that has datasets already provided. I cannot recommend it enough. Among the provided datasets are: This has been a godsend and major timesaver. Before, I would spend an inordinate amount of time conjuring up data for an assignment. Now it’s a breeze.
Step 3: Decide which software to use (if the professor has NOT specified)
You must decide which tool (i.e. software) you’re going to use. As you would expect, we’re VERY familiar with Statistical software. Excel is a common favorite as are StatDisk and StatCrunch.
If it’s not specified, I’ll use some combination of Excel, StatDisk, and StatCrunch. There are also several websites that have useful widgets for doing Statistical calculations and making various visualizations such as histograms.
More advanced Stats course require students to use SPSS, but I almost never see SPSS in Introductory Stats courses.
Step 4: Perform all necessary calculations
This is usually the easiest part of a project. The software does all the number crunching. If you’re doing calculations manually, you’re probably doing it totally wrong (or at least much more difficult). I should mention here that although doing the calculations is easy (thanks to software), figuring which calculations to do is not as easy. That’s where analysis comes in handy.
Step 5: Present the findings
This is usually the most important part of the project, and typically the most challenging. This is where critical thinking and following directions is the most necessary. You must be sure to use the right visuals (e.g. charts, graphs, and diagrams) along with the proper calculations. Professors are usually very serious about students knowing how to make sense of the data.
Step 6: Write any conclusions and inferences
This is where it comes in handy that our experts are all fluent in English. This is the part of the project where you are expected to shed some light on the significance of the conclusion. Communication is essential. You must be able to articulate what you did, what you concluded, and any implications of the conclusion.
Usually, this section will only be 1-2 paragraphs, but it can account for up to 25% of the project grade.