Experimental Statistics
STAT 5371


Course Information, Fall 2005


Monnie McGee

Office hours:

T TH 11:00 a.m. - Noon


Heroy 104


Other times by appointment


214 768 2462







Experimental Statistics is an introductory statistical analysis course. It is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students from programs other than Statistical Science. This is the first semester of the two-course sequence STAT 5371-5372. A previous undergraduate semester-long course is beneficial but not a prerequisite – the course is entirely self-contained and does not assume that students have already been exposed to statistics.  The course introduces students to basic statistical concepts and techniques needed for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data that are collected from a variety of sampling and experimental methods. Effective statistical procedures for both data collection and data analysis are focal points of the course. The course is appropriate for students from any discipline that relies on statistical information to make decisions or draw conclusions. Topics covered in this semester include:  descriptive statistics; basic probability, including the normal and binomial probability distributions; sampling distributions for averages and proportions; confidence intervals and hypothesis tests for the mean of a normal distribution and the binomial proportion; and two-sample inference (confidence intervals and tests) for means and proportions from independent and matched-paired samples.

Modern data analysis methods rely on computer technology and software. Emphasis in the course is not on algebraic derivations or on the memorization of mathematical formulas, but on using readily available computer software to convey information in the form of state-of-the-art statistical graphics and quantitative summaries. The use of statistical computing in this course enables you to concentrate most of your time on interpretation and decision-making, not on the drudgery of making calculator calculations and graphs. No prior knowledge of computing is required for this course.

Text and Software

An Introduction to Statistical Methods and Data Analysis, Fifth Edition
by R. Lyman Ott and Michael Longnecker, Duxbury Press.

Applied Statistics and the SAS Programming Language, Fourth Edition
Ronald P. Cody and Jeffrey K. Smith, Prentice Hall

All lecture notes are available on the course-management system Blackboard at the university web site http://courses.smu.edu. Enter this web site using your SMU id number (without the dash) as both the logon account number and the password (unless you’ve already changed the password). The lecture notes are downloadable but they do not replace the textbook as the primary reference source. The lecture notes are cross-referenced with the textbook to facilitate the integration of the textbook and the lecture notes.

This course will make extensive use of the SAS statistical software program and to a lesser extent Microsoft Excel. Both the computers and the software needed for the requirements of this course are available in the computer lab for this course, located in Room G15 in the basement of Clements Hall, but any assignments may be done on your own personal computer or in the general computer labs located throughout campus (e.g., Fondren Library or the Business Information Center).

Assignments and Labs

Assignments are administered solely to enhance the understanding of course material. They also provide quick feedback to me about your mastery of the topics covered. Assignments are given weekly, covering that week's course material. You are permitted to give and to receive help on assignments so long as the work turned in has been written (or computed) and mastered by you. Please write legibly. Where appropriate, show your work so that partial credit may be given.

Lab sessions are designed to extend the course lecture material to real applications, applications that necessarily require the use of appropriate computer software. Lab sessions will concentrate on the use of SAS and Microsoft Excel to provide the statistical calculations and graphics needed for the analysis of data. It is imperative that you show up for lab sessions on time because we will be working together as a group in the labs.

Assistance Outside of Class

Assistance on any of the course material, assignments, computer usage, etc. can be obtained in a variety of ways – and I encourage you to seek assistance on any topic that you are having difficulty understanding, including assignments. Although I hold regular office hours, appointments are welcomed and can be made by contacting me by phone or email. SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) also provides free tutoring on a walk-in basis. 

When contacting me by e-mail, please put “Statistics 5371” somewhere in the subject line. I am in the habit of deleting e-mail that comes from an unknown source, and I would hate to delete e-mail from a student unknowingly. Using this subject line will assure that this doesn’t happen. Please allow 48 hours for me to return your e-mail. I usually leave my office at SMU around 4 p.m, and I typically do not check e-mail again until the next day. If you have anything of a confidential nature to confide in me, please do so in person, as e-mail is inherently insecure.

University Policies for Special Circumstances

Disability Accommodations:  Students needing academic accommodations for a disability must first contact Ms. Rebecca Marin, Coordinator, Services for Students with Disabilities (214-768-4557) to verify the disability and establish eligibility for accommodations.  They should then schedule an appointment with me to make appropriate arrangements.


Religious Observance:  Religiously observant students wishing to be absent on holidays that require missing class should notify me in writing at the beginning of the semester, and should discuss with me, in advance, acceptable ways of making up any work missed because of the absence. 


Excused Absences for University Extracurricular Activities:  Students participating in an officially sanctioned, scheduled University extracurricular activity will be given the opportunity to make up class assignments or other graded assignments missed as a result of their participation.  It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements with me prior to any missed scheduled examination or other missed assignment for making up the work. 


I will be very happy to accommodate any of the above special circumstances. Please make these arrangements at the beginning of the semester so that you are able to take full advantage of the course. No special accommodations for exams or other work can be made without prior arrangements with me, so please do so within the first two weeks of the semester.  

Attendance and Participation

Students are strongly encouraged to attend every class. Performance in this course is very closely associated with class attendance. Class attendance will be monitored. Students with several absences are requested to visit with me to determine whether there are avoidable or correctable circumstances that can be improved to increase attendance. Students are responsible for all announcements and assignments given in classes they are unable to attend. The course web site can be accessed at any time to determine what work might have been missed or what might have been assigned during an absence from class.

Learning is a process that is greatly enhanced by communication between students and instructors. Hence, class discussions are valued and will be encouraged! Students are encouraged to ask questions and to participate in class discussions. Differences of opinion or perspective are welcomed. In fairness to and respect for other students, however, conduct or speech that is disruptive or offensive cannot be tolerated.

Students who arrive at class late or who leave class early can easily disrupt the learning process. Out of respect for other students, please do not come to class late. No student should ever leave class early. Should an unavoidable need arise for you to have to leave a class early, please let me know at the beginning of class so that an accommodation can be made that will not disrupt the rest of the students.  

Examinations and Grading

Course grades will be calculated using the following weights:

Semester Exams (2)


Each Exam is Equally Weighted



Lowest Grade Dropped

Analysis Project


Typed paper due November 29

Final Exam


Comprehensive. Mandatory for all students




The two regular semester examinations will be held on the dates listed in the syllabus. Barring unforeseen circumstances, these dates are firm. Should the need arise to reschedule one or more of the exams, at least one week prior notice will be given. These examinations are not comprehensive, they each cover one of the major blocks of instruction covered this semester. If the exam is an in-class exam, you are permitted to bring a calculator and a 3"x5" note cars to the exam. The note cards are intended as an aid in organizing your preparation for the exams. The note card must have your name and it must be written in your own handwriting (the Honor Code applies here). Unmarked formula sheets that are posted on the course web site may also be brought to exams. Your calculator need not be an expensive one, just ensure that it has buttons that automatically calculate averages and standard deviations.

Examinations must be taken on the date and at the time indicated. A grade of zero will be given for any missed exam. There are no make-up exams. If an unavoidable conflict arises, permission may be given to take an exam at an alternative time, usually prior to the scheduled date. Such permission must be sought prior to the exam date. No exam grades will be dropped. In the calculation of the course grade, however, if the final exam grade is higher than the lower regular exam grade, the final exam grade will be used both for the final exam grade and for the lower of the other two exam grades.

In order to consolidate what you have learned in class, and to practice technical writing skills, a course project has been assigned. It will be due the last day of class. There will also be dates throughout the semester where you will be asked to turn in drafts of the projects. The project will be assigned during the first week of September. It will involve data collection and analysis using SAS. The final project should be a well-written (grammar and spelling will count), organized, type-written document of no more than 7 pages (including graphics). You should have your data set collected by the end of September, and a rough draft by the end of October. More details will be given as the semester progresses. Although you may talk to other students about your project and obtain suggestions from them (I encourage you to swap papers with others for proofreading purposes), the final paper is to be your own work.

The SMU Honor Code will be strictly enforced. Students caught giving or receiving unauthorized help on examinations will either be given a course grade of zero or taken before the Honor Council, depending on the nature and circumstances of the violation.

Suggestions for Success

      Stay current! Don’t let a single class go by without quickly reviewing what was covered the previous class. If you review and there is anything that you don’t understand, it’s a clue that you are likely to have trouble with that topic on an exam.

      Get help! Ask questions in class – they are welcome! Weekly, if needed, get assistance from me or the LEC on anything you don’t understand. I am not a mind-reader. I can help you only if I know that you need help.

      REVIEW for exams; don’t cram for them. If you’ve followed the previous two suggestions, you should be able to prepare for an exam by solidifying your understanding the course material, not by trying for the first time to understand the material.

      While you are free to work with others on assignments, don’t simply copy others’ work. If you do, your first exposure to some of the course material will be on exams! You will have difficulty understanding the thought processes needed to work problems if you have not tried first on your own to solve them on assignments.

I truly want you to be successful in this course! Have a great semester!