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.
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.
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.
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.