This module explores the fundamental statistical techniques and ideas used for analysing and interpreting data, covering models for data, estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and regression. The emphasis is on the practical side, although some of the underlying theory is also included. The statistical software package Minitab is supplied with the module and use of a computer is essential: you’ll receive detailed guidance for all the computer activities. This module is ideal if you would like to develop the skills to make sense of data. It also provides the necessary foundations required for studying further modules in statistics.
What you will study
This module builds on the statistics introduced at level 1 through the OU module Introducing statistics (M140). The module will investigate a greater range of statistical techniques than those introduced at level 1, and will also provide a deeper understanding of the techniques that were introduced.
In this module you will explore the fundamental statistical techniques which can be used to analyse data to answer real, practical, questions such as ‘Does drug A work better than drug B?’ and ‘How often do major earthquakes occur?'.
The starting point for answering such questions is to model the variation in data: some of the most commonly used models for variation are considered in the first part of the module and some of their properties are investigated. The module then goes on to develop statistical techniques for using data and models of the variation to draw conclusions and answer questions of interest: the specific statistical techniques studied in the module include estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis tests and regression.
An important skill for any statistician is the ability to communicate their statistical analysis clearly to others, both statisticians and non-statisticians. Statistical report writing is considered in one of the final units of the module.
In addition to the module texts, student learning is supported throughout by short video presentations, computer animations and online interactive practice quizzes.
Read the full content list here.
You will learn
Successful study of this module should improve your skills in analysing and interpreting data.
This module may help you to gain membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). For further information, see the IMA website.
This module may also help you to apply for the professional award of Graduate Statistician conferred by The Royal Statistical Society (RSS).
There is no formal pre-requisite study, but you must have the required mathematical and statistical skills.
You can check you’re ready for M248 and see the topics it covers here.
Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.
You should aim to be confident and fluent with the concepts covered in the Are you ready? quiz here, and follow the advice in the quiz.
The key topics to revise include:
- algebraic manipulation
- logarithmic and exponential functions
- differentiation and integration.
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) is ideal preparation, and Introducing statistics (M140) is also useful.
You'll have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- course-specific module materials
- audio and video content
- assessment details, instructions and guidance
- online tutorial access
- access to student and tutor group forums.
You'll be provided with printed module books, each covering one block of study, with many worked examples and exercises. You'll also receive a printed module handbook.
You will need
A scientific calculator, but not one that is designed or adapted to offer any of the following facilities: Algebraic manipulation, differentiation or integration, language translation or can communicate with other devices or the internet. It also cannot have retrievable information stored in it such as databanks, dictionaries, mathematical formulae or text.
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (a Mac is unsuitable – Minitab, the supplied statistical software package, will not run properly)
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.