There are three major data analysis problems for which written
reports are required in Stat 998. For the first two,
the client is interviewed in class, and each student analyzes the data
and writes a report. A final (major) project consists of an
separate consulting experience for each student with a
required oral presentation and written report.
Here are some guidelines on the scope of these projects.
Guidelines for Major Projects
Projects involve collaboration with "live" scientists. The problem
itself should be primarily statistical, not computational. For
example, the scientist is responsible for preparing the data in an
electronic form, and the statistician focuses on issues of design,
graphical presentation of data, data analysis and interpretation of
results. Scientist and statistician typically work together to create
a 2-page description of the problem, which in some
sense serves as a "contract" defining the scientific questions and the
scope of the statistical investigation.
Scientists for the first two projects come to class twice, usually a
week apart, for the first two projects. Students meet individually
with the third scientist, whom they choose with guidance from the
instructor. All projects are completed with a 12-page
report. Students give an oral presentation for the class on
the third project. The goal here is to obtain feedback from the
class, rather than to present a finished product. Your presentation
should include a few key graphs and some remarks on design and
Remember: This is a Class Project
There should be a clear understanding between scientist and
statistician of the nature of the involvement. This is an assignment
for a course with a definite time limit. For example, if you do an
analysis for the scientist, and that person does not like the
analysis, then it is not your responsibility to modify or repeat it.
Moreover, if you want to continue working on the project after the
course, that is your choice (you might consider asking for money
and/or co-authorship). However, you do not have to continue.
Problem Definition and Shaping Analysis
One of the difficult aspects of this assignments is problem
definition and shaping analysis. Feel free to ask for my
help from the instructor if you are unsure how to proceed here. The
process of preparing a 2-page summary handout can
help you clarify these issues.
The problem should be "not too big, not too
small". Simple regression or one-way anova is too small. Thousands of
observations on hundreds of variables may be too big. Ideally the
problem has a few non-standard twists involving missing data or
imbalance. Or the research questions may be non-standard in some
creative way. In other words, the problem should be sized so that it
can be completed in three "leisurely" weeks during the
semester. Remember that the Statistics MS exam allow only about three
days per problem!
12-Page Written Report
Students must submit a 12 page written report for
each project. Key graphs in the report must be
closely connected to text material.
See the LaTeX Sample
Outline for further suggestions on report style and content.