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Topic 1: Introduction to Statistics

This lesson introduces students to the basics of statistics including the role of statistics in research, types of statistical studies, and how to assess studies that make use of statistical techniques.

Suggested Readings:

  • most introductory chapters in Statistics books including
  • Healey, Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Bennett, Chapter 1 (parts)
  • Telling the Truth about Damned Lies & Statistics (consider whether we should believe statistics and why writing is so important in statistics)


  1. Describe the role and place of statistics in research
  2. Differentiate statistics as a science and statistics as data
  3. Distinguish the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics and identify situations in which each is appropriate 

Suggested practice:

Objectives Check:

  1. What are most common types of sampling methods?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
  3. What is a population? What is a sample?
  4. What is the difference between statistic and parameter?

Suggested SPSS Lab:

The lab introduces students to the software program SPSS including entering data to create a new dataset.

LAB Objectives:
  • easily navigate the basics of the SPSS program 
  • create a new dataset in SPSS (define variables, labels, attributes) 
SPSS 01: Introduction to SPSS