Department of Statistics

STATS 150 Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

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Below description edited in year: 2018

Points: 15

Credit: Final Exam = 50%; Test = 15%; Assignments = 30%; Tutorial tasks = 5%. Must obtain at least 40% in final exam to pass.

Textbooks: Recommended reading: The Numbers Game: The Commonsense Guide to Understanding Numbers in the News, in Politics and in Life (2008), by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot
Seeing through Statistics , 3rd edition (2004), by Jessica M. Utts

Website: STATS 150 website

STATS 150 (also available for General Education as STATS 150G) is to prepare anyone, regardless of whether or not they have any background in statistics, to become a critical consumer of statistical information. It will be useful, for example, for aspiring journalists, politicians, political scientists, sociologists, lawyers, public communicators, health personnel, conservationists, environmental scientists, business people, marketers, engineers, and scientists. It examines the uses, limitations, and abuses of statistical information in a variety of activities such as polling, public health, sport, law, marketing, and the environment. The statistical concepts and thinking underlying data-based arguments will be explored. The interpretation and critical evaluation of statistically-based reports as well as the construction of statistically-sound arguments and reports will be emphasised. Some course material will be drawn from topics currently in the news.

This course teaches you how to critique statistical reporting. It does not, however, teach you how to analyse data. Thus, it alone does not serve as a prerequisite for any of our more advanced courses in statistics, or as the statistical prerequisite for BCom or Psychology.

Topics: Introduction to Media Reports, Surveys and Polls, Experimentation, Risk, Media Reports, Statistical Reasoning.

Coursepack: A coursepack of readings is supplied and is available from the Student Resource Centre in the basement of the Science Centre Maths/Physics Building 303.

Although every reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy, this information for the course year (2023) is provided as a general guide only for students and is subject to alteration. All students enrolling at the University of Auckland must consult its official document, the University of Auckland Calendar, to ensure that they are aware of and comply with all regulations, requirements and policies.

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