Introduction to Statistics


None; and no previous computing experience is necessary.

Course outline

This is an introductory unit in statistical methods with an emphasis on those applicable to the social sciences. The approach will be largely non-mathematical, concentrating on concepts rather than mathematical theory.

The first part of the course will include numerical and graphical displays for univariate and bivariate data, covering topics such as types of variables, frequency tables, histograms and stem and leaf plots, the median, interquartile range and boxplots, the mean and standard deviation, levels of measurement, scatterplots and tabulated data.
The second part of the course deals with the ideas of inferential statistics. Topics covered include confidence intervals, hypothesis testing for means and proportions, nonparametric methods, one-way analysis of variance, statistical and practical significance, simple linear regression, correlation, tables of counts and the chi-square test.
The statistical packages SPSS and iNZightVIT will be used where appropriate as a teaching tool and computational aid (previous experience is not assumed).

Course text

The instructor’s detailed course notes will serve as the course text. Participants will receive a copy on the first day.

Related courses/Experience

Participants in this course are encouraged to enrol in SPSS for Researchers at this or a future NZSSN short course programme. These courses together provide a comprehensive introduction to statistical methods and the use of a statistical analysis package. Participants familiar with the use of a package but lacking statistical training should also start with this course.