Course Information

Statistical Tools for Data Analysis:
Special Topics


Students may visit Professor Hossein Arsham at his office located at Business Center 479. You can contact him by phone 410-837-5268, fax 837-5722, or by Email at

To find out more information about Dr. Hossein Arsham, visit his Home Page at

Students must seek tutorial help from the Academic Resource Center at 410-837-5385, E-mail, located at AC 111.
Visit also Business Statistics.

  1. Welcome Message
  2. Course Description, and Required Textbooks
  3. Learning Objectives
  4. The Main Web Sites I Recommend

Dear Student

Welcome to:

Statistical Data Analysis

I am looking forward to working with you and hope that you will find the course both enjoyable and informative.

Managers need to understand variation for two key reasons. First, so that they can lead others to apply statistical thinking in day to day activities and secondly, to apply the concept for the purpose of continuous improvement. This course will provide you with hands-on experience to promote the use of statistical thinking and techniques to apply them to make educated decisions whenever there is variation in business data. Therefore, it is a course in statistical thinking via a data-oriented approach.

Know that data are only crude information and not knowledge by themselves. The sequence from data to knowledge is: from Data to Information, from Information to Facts, and finally, from Facts to Knowledge. Data becomes information when it becomes relevant to your decision problem. Information becomes fact when the data can support it. Fact becomes knowledge when it is used in the successful completion of decision process. The following figure illustrates the statistical thinking process based on data in constructing statistical models for decision making under uncertainties.

From Data to Knowledge

That's why we need statistical data analysis. Statistics arose from the need to place knowledge on a systematic evidence base. This required a study of the laws of probability, the development of measures of data properties and relationships, and so on.

Knowledge is more than knowing something technical. Knowledge needs wisdom, and wisdom comes with age and experience. Wisdom is about knowing how something technical can be best used to meet the needs of the decision-maker. Wisdom, for example, creates statistical software that is useful, rather than technically brilliant.

We will apply the basic concepts and methods of statistics you've already learned in the previous statistics course to the real world problems. The course is tailored to meet your needs in the statistical business-data analysis using widely available commercial statistical computer packages such as SAS and SPSS. By doing this, you will inevitably find yourself asking questions about the data and the method proposed, and you will have the means at your disposal to settle these questions to your own satisfaction. Accordingly, all the applications problems are borrowed from business and economics. By the end of this course you'll be able to think statistically while performing data analysis.

Learning Objects: Unfortunately, most classroom courses are not learning systems. The way the instructors attempt to help their students acquire skills and knowledge has absolutely nothing to do with the way students actually learn. Many instructors rely on lectures and tests, and memorization. All too often, they rely on "telling." No one remembers much that's taught by telling, and what's told doesn't translate into usable skills. Certainly, we learn by doing, failing, and practicing until we do it right. The computer assisted learning serves this purpose.

There are two general views of teaching/learning statistics: Greater and Lesser Statistics. Greater statistics is everything related to learning from data, from the first planning or collection, to the last presentation or report. Lesser statistics is the body of statistical methodology. This is a Greater Statistics course.

There are basically two kinds of "statistics" courses. The real kind shows you how to make sense out of data. These courses would include all the recent developments and all share a deep respect for data and truth. The imitation kind involves plugging numbers into statistics formulas. The emphasis is on doing the arithmetic correctly. These courses generally have no interest in data or truth, and the problems are generally arithmetic exercises. If a certain assumption is needed to justify a procedure, they will simply tell you to "assume the ... are normally distributed" -- no matter how unlikely that might be. It seems like you all are suffering from an overdose of the latter. This course will bring out the joy of statistics in you.

It is already an accepted fact that "Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write." So, let us be ahead of our time.

Feel free to contact me via phone, fax, or email. There is a lot of material to cover, so let's start now!

Course Description, and Required Textbooks

Course Description: For the course description, please read the Introductory Section of the topic that you are interested in taking:

Required Textbooks:

A Data-Based Approach to Statistics, by Iman R., Duxbury Press, 1994.

A Guide to Econometrics, by Kennedy P., MIT Press, 1998.

Statistical Data Analysis Handbook, by Wall F., McGraw-Hill, New York, 1986.

Business Forecasting, by Hanke J., and G. Reitsch, Prentice Hall, 2001.

Learning Objectives

When you completes this course they should be able to:

The Main Web Sites I Recommend

The following main statistical web sites together with your textbook contain all the materials you need to learn statistics. Make sure to visit these sites at least once a week to learn more on the related topics covered in this course.

Some other useful and specialized web sites are linked to your Weekly Topics pages.

General main statistical Web sites:

The following main statistical web sites and the lecture notes, together with your textbook contain all the materials you need to learn statistics. Make sure to visit these sites at least once a week to learn more on the related topics covered in this course.

Some other useful and specialized web sites are linked to your Weekly Topics pages.

General main statistical Web sites:

Web sites containing statistical keywords & phrases:

The following Web site collection provide a wide range of keywords & phrases. Visit these sites weekly to learn the language of statisticians.

Statistical Computation and Tables:

The following Web sites provide statistical computations and tables such ad critical values useful in statistical testing and construction of confidence intervals. The results are identical to those given in your textbook. However, in most cases they are more extensive (therefore more accurate).

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Topics in Statistical Data Analysis