Course Description:Bios624: Data Analysis & Report Writing: FULL YEAR COURSE over Fall 2016 & Winter 2017

[updated Sept 06, 2016]

Instructor Dr. James Hanley
Co-ordinates tel: (514) 398-6270  
IMPORTANT This is a FULL YEAR COURSE, meeting once-a-week over both Fall '16 & Winter '17

To consolidate and reinforce data analysis and reporting skills. Students, who have already has a course on multivariable regression, will practice these skills and integrate them in a series of projects involving datasets assembled in the course of applied research.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Define operational (data-based) objectives given hypotheses and questions.

• Propose study designs appropriate to address these objectives, and write relevant grant sections.

• Write a statistical analysis plan proposing practical and appropriate statistical analyses given the hypotheses and objectives.

• Carry out a statistical analysis and write a report summarizing results for a variety of 'clients' including scientific journals, research collaborators, and consulting clients.

• Critically appraise protocols and reports.

Target PhD and advanced Masters students in the Biostatistics stream, as well as quantitative Epidemiology Masters and PhD students. Statistically-prepared students from other departments or universities are especially welcome.
Prerequisites Biostatistics students should have completed MATH 533 and 523 or their equivalents, or have permission from the instructor. Epidemiology students should have completed EPIB 607 and EPIB 621 or their equivalents.
Course Website
Format The course will involve lectures, seminars, group discussions, and independent work. The seminar component will be based on student presentations of papers followed by general discussion among faculty and students. Students will be expected to do considerable independent work analyzing data and preparing reports. Class sessions will include Lecture sessions (infrequently), Seminar sessions, Lab sessions, and Presentation/Discussion sessions. 'Seminars' will involve student presentations and discussion of relevant papers. All other reading is intended as background for the lectures and will not be directly discussed in class. Class sessions indicated as 'lab' will be sessions to discuss projects/data analysis questions and work on data analyses.

If numbers permit, students will be paired into teams -- teams that will change from project to project.

When Wednesdays: 2:30-4:30 in Fall and 12:30-2:30 in Winter. First class: Wed. Sept 7.
Where Room 48, third Floor, Purvis Hall, 1020 Pine Ave. West [corner Pine]
No. of Credits 4
Assessment Homework Assignments - 80%

Students will complete several assignments related to datasets provided by the instructor. Assignments will be graded with emphasis on analysis, interpretation, and discussion (or as AB used to weight the reports, on Science, Statistics, and Writing) as opposed to mechanical implementation of statistical and modeling techniques. Choice of appropriate statistical approach is as important as implementation and the 'correct' final number.

Participation/Presentation - 20%.

To maximize what can be gained from a discussion, all students must actively participate in class sessions. Part of your education is to learn how to verbally express statistical concepts in discussion and so we expect you to make efforts to contribute positively to the discussions. Grades will be assigned according to the following criteria: • Attendance • Clarity and conciseness of verbal contributions • Thoughtfulness of the verbal contributions • Insights evident in the verbal contributions. Detailed guidelines are given in the footnote below.

McGill University Senate resolution of January 29, 2003 on academic integrity...

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures. For more details, consult the link below.

L'université McGill attache une haute importance à lhonnêteté académique. Il incombe par conséquent à tous les étudiants de comprendre ce que l'on entend par tricherie, plagiat et autres infractions académiques, ainsi que les conséquences que peuvent avoir de telles actions, selon le Code de conduite de l'étudiant et des procédures disciplinaires (pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le site

Footnote Class Participation (20%):

. Participation means showing up for each class having completed the assigned readings. In class it means asking questions about anything that seems unclear or objectionable, offering arguments and responses, and listening to the arguments and responses of others, and demonstrating a positive attitude toward learning.
. Making contributions to discussion means: asking questions about things in the text, or things said in class, that are unclear or confusing offering answers to questions asked by others in class making claims or observations about the issues being discussed offering support, criticism, modification, or clarification for claims being discussed the sheer number of your contributions does little to improve your grade contributions should be relevant and helpful. a genuine question always counts as relevant and helpful
. Relevant contributions show you are engaging with the issue being discussed at the time, and that you are well-prepared for class. Helpful contributions advance or improve the discussion by bringing in new ideas helping us understand the issues being discussed redirecting our attention to the text keeping us "on track" changing the subject when needed.

17-20 points: Is fully engaged in discussions and shows clear evidence of having done the reading Regularly makes helpful, relevant contributions to discussion. Occasionally offers observations that challenge other participants to think about the material in new ways. Actively participates in discussions.
13-16 points: Is fully engaged in discussions and has done most of the reading Occasionally makes helpful, relevant contributions to discussion. Actively participates in discussions.
9-12 points: Attends regularly and actively pays attention to the discussion. Occasionally contributes to discussions.
0-9 points: Does not attend regularly. Does not pay attention to discussions. Does not contribute to discussions.