of Inferential Statistics
of a Statistical Exercise
Due: 5pm June 21, 2004
You are asked to construct an exercise
along the lines of the homegrown ones which are being used in this course, suitable
for testing or demonstrating understanding of basic principles of biostatistics.
These principles are to be found in such texts as Colton or Moore and McCabe or as
discussed in the lectures.
While you are free to invent the entire exercise, it will probably be easier (and
more realistic) to base it on some report in a scientific journal (in your own specialty,
or a general one*) or perhaps in the lay press. It should concern some health problem
amenable to statistical investigation. Try to make the narrative as clear and as
concise as you can. The exercise should comprise 5-7 questions requiring altogether
about one hour for completion. You are asked also to produce a separate set of model
answers; these should be equally short and to the point.
The questions may cover any part of
this course 694) or the preceding one (693). Indeed, in the interests of time, and
the June 21st deadline, it would be good to have 1 or 2 of the questions cover material
Below are tgree examples of such an exercise, prepared by students in one of the
Your exercise and model answers will count for the indicated % of the marks in your
final grade for this course. In assessing the quality of your exercise, we shall
consider the extent to which the questions test understanding of important biostatistical
principles in a clear, concise and unambiguous way. Credit will also be given for
choice of subject and ingenuity in use of the available information.
The exercise, model answers and a copy of any published report(s) on which the exercise
is based should be handed in by the deadline indicated.
I got the idea of this exercise from
Corbett McDonald; he believes, as I do, that just as with surgery, the best way to
learn the statistical material is to 'See one, do one, teach one'.
If you absolutely cannot find an article, JH has some you might select from -- but
he urges you to find one on your own.