England.

Analysing data

Qualification dates
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This module explores fundamental statistical techniques and ideas for analysing and interpreting data. It coverers models for data, estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and regression. It’s ideal if you want to develop the skills to make sense of data or a foundation to study further statistics. The module emphasises the practical side, although it includes some underlying theory. It uses a statistical software package (Minitab); you’ll receive detailed guidance for all activities.

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.

You can find the full content list on the Open mathematics and statistics website.

You will learn

Successful study of this module should improve your skills in analysing and interpreting data.

Professional recognition

This module may help you to gain membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). For further information, see the IMA website.

Entry requirements

There is no formal pre-requisite study, but you must have the required mathematical and statistical skills.

Preparatory work

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.

What's included

• a week-by-week study planner
• course-specific module materials
• audio and video content
• assessment details, instructions and guidance
• online tutorial access

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.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11). Any macOS is unsuitable with this module.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

Teaching and assessment

• Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
• Guiding you to additional learning resources.
• Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
• Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Although your scores on the TMAs will not contribute directly to your final grade, you will need to complete most of them. However, the total workload for all TMAs is less than four standard TMAs. You will be given more information when you begin the module.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying M248 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Analysing data (M248) starts once a year – in October.