2010 June 2 / j d a v i s @ c a r l e t o n . e d u

Introduction to Statistics

Carleton College Math 215, Spring 2010, Prof. Joshua R. Davis


Statistics is a way of reasoning about data. That is, statistics helps us collect, analyze, discuss, and present data, and draw conclusions from them. Statistical concepts and techniques find utility in a variety of fields across the natural and social sciences, from measuring the efficacy of new drugs, to estimating the reliability of a bridge, to evaluating the effect of a law on society.

Concretely, the first half of this course is an overview of descriptive statistics, design of surveys and experiments, and basic probability. The second half is an introduction to confidence intervals and hypothesis testing of proportions and means, with additional topics (e.g. ANOVA) as time permits.

This course assumes no background or prior experience in the subject. You may not take this course if you have already taken Math 115 (Statistics: Concepts and Applications). If you are considering a math major, then you are urged to consider the Math 265-275 (Probability and Statistics) sequence instead of this course.

Our class meets in CMC 209 during period 1A (MW 8:30AM-9:40AM, F 8:30AM-9:30AM). Here are the basic materials.

Here's how you get in contact with me:

Dr. Joshua R. Davis (most people call me Josh)
E-mail: j d a v i s @ c a r l e t o n . e d u
Office: CMC 228, x4362
Office hours: Mon, Wed, Fri after class; Thu 3:00-4:00; and by appointment

Occasionally we will meet in the computer lab (CMC 201) in order to practice with statistical software. You can also use this lab for your homework. It is regularly staffed with lab assistants who can help you with a variety of issues; see the schedule posted in the lab.


Final term grades (A, B, C, etc.) are assigned according to an approximate curving process. By this I mean that there are no predetermined percentages (90%, 80%, 70%, etc.) required for specific grades. The following elements contribute to your grade. Notice that there is no final exam.

You are expected to spend at least 10 hours per week on this course outside class. Some students may need to spend more than 10 hours. If you are spending more than 15, say, then talk to me.


You are encouraged to work with others on homework. Work together to figure out the problems, and then write them up separately, in your own words. You may not copy someone else's work or allow them to copy yours. Presenting someone else's work as your own is an act of Academic Dishonesty.

Make your paper easy to grade. The questions should be answered in the order they were assigned and clearly marked. If your paper is messy or disorganized from revisions or erasures, then you may need to recopy it.

Write your solutions as if the intended audience is your fellow students. By doing so, you show enough detail that your grader can ascertain whether you yourself understand the material. Your solutions should be written in complete sentences. They should be self-explanatory; the grader should not have to refer to the book, to determine whether your solution is correct. In short, if a classmate were to read one of your solutions, then she or he should be able to understand what the problem was and how you solved it.

Staple your week's worth of solutions into a single packet, in the order they were assigned. Packets that are not stapled are unacceptable. I will not accept packets that are not stapled. Staple your packet. Your packet? Staple it.

Homework is graded for correctness and for presentation. Depending on time constraints, perhaps only a subset of the work is graded; in order to ensure full credit, do all of the assigned problems.

Special Accommodations

During the term, you have one free pass to hand in a homework assignment late. Here is how you activate it. Instead of handing in the assignment, send me e-mail (by the due date) declaring that you are using your late pass and proposing a new due date. If the due date is extended by only one class meeting, then no explanation is necessary; if you need longer, then convince me. When you hand in the assignment late, write "LATE PASS" at the top. Use your free pass wisely; once you have used it, no late assignments are accepted, except in extreme circumstances that are truly beyond your control.

If some medical condition affects your participation in class or your taking of exams, let me know during the first week of class. You may need to make official arrangements with the Office of Accommodation and Disability Services.


You are expected to read the relevant book sections before class, and to attempt the homework promptly after class. Most assigned problems come from our textbook; problems marked "L" come from our lab manual. The Due Day column tells you when that homework is due. For example, the homework assigned on Day 01 is due on Day 03; the homework assigned on Day 02 is due on Day 06.

DateDayChaptersTopicHomeworkDue DayNotes
M 3/29011, 2dataIntroductory Survey
2: 13, 14, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
W 3/31023, 4categorical and quantitative data3: 16, 23, 27, 34, 41, 46
4: 11, 16, 23, 25, 28, 37, 49, 54
F 4/02035comparing distributions5: 11, 16, 19, 28, 30, 31, 5006
M 4/05046normal model6: 13, 24, 32, 37, 51, 55, 5806Notes
W 4/07057lab: S+L1.10: 4, 6 (hand in)
finish through L4.2 (don't hand in)
F 4/09067, 8linear regression7: 03, 11, 16, 19, 24, 34, 36
8: 12, 26, 40, 55
L4.9: 2, 4
M 4/12079, 10transforming data9: 4, 14, 20, 22, 25
10: 6, 8, 16, 32
L4.9: 6, 7, 9
W 4/140811, 12surveys11: 08, 12
12: 05, 06, 08, 13, 20, 26, 34, 38
F 4/160913experiments13: 09, 12, 16, 20, 30, 34, 42, 49, 5512
M 4/1910EXAM 1 (Chapters 01-12)
W 4/211114, 15probability14: 08, 09, 15, 18, 28, 30, 34
15: 04, 16, 20, 33, 44
15Monty Hall
F 4/231216probability16: 07, 20, 22, 33, 38, 42, 4715
M 4/261317Bernoulli trials17: 10, 12, 14, 28, 32, 34, 4015
W 4/2814catching up
F 4/301518sampling distributions18: 04, 11, 14, 20, 32, 40, 4717Notes
W 5/051619confidence intervals for proportions19: 04, 07, 12, 16, 20, 21, 32, 3620
F 5/071720hypothesis testing for proportions20: 01, 14, 16, 21, 26, 29, 30, 3220
M 5/101821hypothesis testing for proportionsnone20
W 5/1219EXAM 2 (focused on Chapters 13-19)
F 5/142022comparing proportions21: 19, 26, 36
22: 08, 09, 14
M 5/172123catching upbegin project
W 5/192223inferences about means23: 12, 14, 18, 37, 4426
M 5/242424, 25comparing means, paired samples24: 13, 18, 27
25: 18, 26
W 5/262526chi-squared tests for counts26: 11, 31, 39never
F 5/282627inferences for regressionnoneneverreginf.nb
M 5/3127EXAM 3 (focused on Chapters 20-27)
W 6/0228conclusion, evaluationsnonenever