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**Part A:** A Problem-Solving Process

**Part B:** Data Measurement and Variation

**Part C:** Bias in Measurement

**Part D:** Bias in Sampling

**Homework**

Statistics is a problem-solving process that seeks answers to questions through data. In this session, we begin to explore the problem-solving process of statistics and to investigate how data vary. This process typically has four components:

- Ask a Question
- Collect Appropriate Data
- Analyze the Data
- Interpret the Results

In this session, you will learn the following:

- Statistics is a problem-solving process with four components.
- Data consist of measurements of a particular variable.
- There are two types of variables — quantitative and qualitative.
- There are many sources of variation in data, including random error and bias.

Many teachers focus solely on the third component of our four-step process for statistical investigations: data analysis. But to properly understand your data, you need to do more than simply examine them. Specifically, there are four things you should consider:

A statistics problem typically contains four integral components:

- Formulation of a statistical question
- The nature of data
- Particular ways to examine data
- Types of interpretations

These four elements serve as the foundation of all the activities in this course. The activities in Part B of this session begin with a question (or questions) and then focus on the nature of data. Each activity emphasizes three points:

- Data consist of measurements of a particular variable.
- There is variation in data.
- There are many potential sources of this variation.

Two questions recur throughout this session: Why are there differences (i.e., variation) in our measurements? What is the source of this variation?

Parts C and D look at two kinds of “bias” in data. Part C uses an Interactive Activity to examine how measurement bias might arise. Part D uses an Interactive Activity that demonstrates how bias can occur in sample selection by looking at the difference between human selection and random selection.

**Materials Needed:**

- foot-long rulers
- yardsticks
- tape measures
- meter sticks
- metric rulers

The following materials are needed for those choosing to do hands-on activities:

- up to 32 pennies
- metric scales that are accurate to 1/100 of a gram
- a stopwatch or watch with a second hand
- five boxes of raisins