Statistics 431

STAT 431: Statistical Consulting

Prerequisite: STAT 302

Credit Hours: (3)

Lectures will provide information on communication skills and the process of conducting a statistical consultation. Practical experience in applied statistics and statistical computing will be obtained by active participation in consultations and by working under faculty supervision with clients from the university community.

Detailed Description of Content of the Course

Topics covered include:

• The role of a consultant
• The process of communicating with the client
• The process consulting with the client
• Resources available to the consultant

Practical experience is obtained in the following:

• Consulting under the supervision of faculty members
• Using the computer to do data analysis for the client
• Drawing conclusions about the project

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course involves time spent with faculty who have consulting experience and discussing:

• Ways to make the client comfortable in a statistical consultation
• Ways to draw the necessary information from the client in order to determine the best approach to the problem
• How to be sure there are no other important facts to be uncovered
• Reiterating the problem to make sure it is well understood.

About a third of the course will be spent in the classroom discussing communication skills, the process of statistical consultation, and the assumptions needed for the most common statistical tools. The majority of the course consists of time spent with clients from various disciplines in actual consultation. The student works with the client when necessary to help them with their data input. The student then does the appropriate analysis on the computer or helps the client do the analyses. The student takes an active part in follow up consultations and the presentation of results to the client.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

The goals are:

• To provide students of statistics practical experience in their field of study. This makes the student more marketable.
• To give the student an appreciation and understanding of the diversity of statistical problems. This may encourage some students to go for further education in the field.
• To help the students to function successfully in a consulting environment. Statistics is a discipline that requires interaction with researchers in other fields.

Assessment Measures

Assessment will be determined based on the following:

• Ability to communicate statistical information in an understandable fashion to clients in other disciplines.
• Written homework.
• Ability to manage a statistical consultation.
• Quality of suggestions made to client.
• Quality of data analysis performed.
• Ability to work independently in problem solving.

Other Course Information

This course is a form of "on the job training" for a student majoring in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics. It makes the student more valuable to perspective employers or graduate programs. Invaluable computer experience is obtained.