STAT 998: Statistical Consulting

      Instructor:       Brian Yandell
      Class Hours:      11-12:15 TR, 1210 MSC (backup room: 5295 MSC)
      Office Hours:     10-11 TR, or by appointment
      Office and Phone: 1120 MSC, 263-3304
      Electronic mail:  byandell@wisc.edu
      Internet:		http://www.stat.wisc.edu/~yandell/st998/ or 
                        http://www.stat.wisc.edu/courses/st998-yandell


Course Objective
The goal is to develop the skills needed by a statistical consultant. Emphasized topics include data analysis, problem solving, report writing, oral communication with clients, issues in planning experiments and collecting data, and practical aspects of consulting management.
Academic Honesty
You will only gain the skills needed to be an effective statistical consultant by practicing these skills yourself. Yet you also have much to learn from others in the course. For most daily assignments, you are allowed to discuss the problems with each other, but each student must complete the work separately. For the in-class projects and the final project, students must work independently and not get help from others. These conditions mimic the conditions of the masters exam where students are forbidden to get help from anyone else.
In-class Activities
Activities in class cover a broad spectrum. Emphasis is placed on class participation. Considerable time is spent on data analysis, discussing several examples. A small number of lectures cover specific statistical topics. Some time is spent discussing report writing, oral communication, consulting session management, and consulting philosophy. Some use is made of videotapes. In conjunction with major data analyses (see Assignments), clients come to class for questioning. There are occasional guest lectures on diverse topics. The latter part of the semester is devoted to the discussion of student consulting projects.
Assignments
There are two major data analysis problems for which written reports are required. For each, the client comes in to be interviewed in class, and each student analyzes the data and writes a report. A final (major) project consists of an actual consulting experience for each student with a required oral presentation and written report. [See the Project page for more detail.] In addition there are a number of short written reports and in-class discussion assignments on a variety of topics. These include brief write-ups on more ``minor'' data analyses. There are some assigned readings as well as videotape viewings. The majority of the work load occurs in the first 2/3 of the course.
Grading
The two major data analyses with clients each count for 25% of the course grade. The final project (actual consulting with oral presentation and written report) is worth 25%. All other assignments together count 25%. Improvement over the semester is viewed favorably in grading.
Handouts
Class handouts are distributed in class.

Brian Yandell (yandell@stat.wisc.edu)