Application Projects 101

The statistics ideas and techniques you are studying this semester have applications in a variety of fields.  Learning about the ways in which mathematical ideas are applied to problems from other disciplines is one of the goals of this course.  To that end, you will be required to complete a two-part application project during the semester. Your application project should demonstrate your understanding of a particular data-centric problem from the engineering sciences (or other discipline), data visualization tools useful for exploring that problem, the statistical concepts and techniques that can be used to solve the problem, and the ways in which mathematical modes of thought are brought to bear on the problem.

Please note that you must work in teams of three on these projects.  You are responsible for sharing the workload with your teammates fairly.  I have three reasons for this policy: (1) the quality of your work will likely be greater than it be if you worked alone, (2) developing collaboration skills is a valuable learning goal, and (3) having a reasonably number of projects to grade (and provide feedback on) makes it feasible for me to implement this very important assignment in this course.

Part One

For the first part of your application project, your team will describe a particular problem from the engineering sciences or other discipline that can be addressed through the use of the primary statistical techniques we are studying this semester—namely, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and linear regression.  Your team should not attempt to use these techniques to actually solve the problem you describe in this part of the project.  However, you should pose one or more interesting questions relevant to your problem and make the case that these techniques could help someone answer those questions.  You should include any data relevant to the problem you choose—or instructions for how someone could obtain such data.

This first part of your project will take the form of a 500-to-700-word post here on the course blog. I’ll upgrade one member of each team to “contributor” status here on the blog so that s/he can post your work. Although I’ll be the one grading your project proposal, it will be available here on the blog for everyone to read, so write accordingly. In particular, I expect you to use APA Style for your citations and references.

You will be graded on the extent to which the problem you describe is a reasonable application of the statistical techniques covered in this course, as well as on the clarity of your writing.  Grammar and presentation will be factored into your grade to a lesser extent.  This first part of your project will count for 30% of your overall project grade.

Part Two

For the second part of your application project, your team will implement the project you proposed in part one. If you proposed a project that isn’t actually feasible, then you may, with my permission, implement one of the projects proposed by the other teams.

You will be graded not only on the content of your project (the questions you address, the methods you use, the assumptions you make), but also on the clarity of your explanations.  Grammar and presentation will be factored into your grade to a lesser extent.  The second part of your project will count for 70% of your overall project grade.

More information about the application project, including specific requirements and format information for part two, will be provided later in the semester.

Image: Testability Bubble Chart, JAWspeak, Flickr (CC)

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