Practicing Statistics: Guided Investigations for the Second Course

The goal of this text is to provide a broad set of topics and methods that will give students a solid foundation in understanding how to make decisions with data. This text presents workbook-style, project-based material that emphasizes real world applications and conceptual understanding. Each chapter contains:

  • An introductory case study focusing on a particular statistical method in order to encourage students to experience data analysis as it is actually practiced.
  • A guided research project that walks students through the entire process of data analysis, reinforcing statistical thinking and conceptual understanding.
  • Optional extended activities that provide more in-depth coverage in diverse contexts and theoretical backgrounds. These sections are particularly useful for more advanced courses that discuss the material in more detail. Some Advanced Lab sections that require a stronger background in mathematics are clearly marked throughout the text.
  • Data sets from multiple disciplines and software instructions for Minitab and R.


The text is highly adaptable in that the various chapters/parts can be taken out of order or even skipped to customize the course to your audience. Depending on the level of in-class active learning, group work, and discussion that you prefer in your course, some of this work might occur during class time and some outside of class. The Table of Contents below indicates any dependencies between chapters. Click on each chapter to see a detailed course outline and supplementary material.


Chapter 1 Nonparametric Methods: Schistosomiasis

                   Research Project: Gender Discrimination among University Faculty


Chapter 2 Making Connections: The Two-Sample t-test, Regression, and ANOVA Research

                   Project: Building a Better Paper Helicopter


Chapter 3 Multiple Regression: How Much is Your Car Worth?

                    Corresponding R Tutorial

                    Prerequisite: Chapter 2 or previous knowledge on simple linear regression

                    Research Project: Economic Growth in Developing Countries


Chapter 4 Designing and Analysis of Factorial Experiments: Microwave Popcorn

                    Prerequisite: Chapter 2 or previous knowledge on one-way and two-way ANOVA

                    Research Project: Testing for the Effect of Distracters


Chapter 5 Block, Split-Plot and Repeated Measure Designs: What Influences Memory?

                    Prerequisite: Chapter 4

                    Research Project: What Impacts Memory?


Chapter 6 Categorical Data Analysis: Is a Tumor Malignant or Benign?

                    Research Project: Infant Handling in Yellow Baboons

                    On-line videos corresponding to Chapter 6 are here.


Chapter 7 Logistic Regression: The Space Shuttle Challenger

                    Prerequisite: Multiple Regression (Chapter 3) and the chi-square test (Chapter 6)

                    Research Project: Substance Abuse among Youth

                    On-line videos corresponding to Chapter 7 are here.


Chapter 8 Poisson Log-Linear Regression: Detecting Cancer Clusters

                    Prerequisite: Logistic Regression (Chapter 7)

                    Research Project: Hitting a Grand Slam in Baseball


Chapter 9 Survival Analysis: Melting Chocolate Chips

                    Research Project: Shapesplosion: A Study of Reaction Time


Chapter 10 Principal Component Analysis: Stock Market Values

                      Research Project: Global Warming and the Hockey Stick Controversy


Chapter 11 Bayesian Data Analysis: What Colors Come in Your M&M's Candy Bag?

                      Research Project: Do You Believe in ESP?