Introduction to StatisticsBarry Richardson
Psychology Department, Monash University
[UniServe Science News Vol. 15 contained a review of Introduction to Statistics by Julie Hansen, Queensland University of Technology. This second review highlights different aspects of this well received package.]
The CD-ROM software, and the three accompanying texts, are suitable for the statistics and design components of a first year psychology program. The three texts (Units 1, 2 and 3) would stand alone, and Units 1 and 3 appear to have done so as British Psychological Society Open Learning Units since 1994 when they were published. The CD-ROM is a very worthwhile addition which complements these texts.
In general the CD-ROM makes good use of sound (including speech) and graphics (still and animated) to bring the subject to life. There is an obvious attempt to use data collected in situations that might interest young people (e.g. dancing and car racing).
Installation was not entirely straightforward. Installation instructions should probably be at the beginning of the user notes rather than on page 14. Complicated procedures for networks and multiple users could occupy later pages of the user notes.
Navigation was generally very good. The 'see again' option in the demonstration was extremely valuable, as was the ease with which the user could exit at any time. The word 'next' was confusing at times because it appeared on the left (back) and right (forward) arrows, in a manner not easily predictable. However, the page number between these arrows (and the option to type in a page number to go to that page) was very useful.
I didn't read all of the texts but the CD-ROM content was clear and accurate. I was surprised to see a related (or matched samples) t test also called a one-sample t test. Though a set of difference scores can be considered a single sample whose mean is compared with an expected zero, the data can still come from two samples and all other authors I know of classify the test accordingly as a two-sample test.
Section 8 (Necessary Skills) was excellent but might have been better placed at the beginning than the end since it covers a lot of basics. Students could be given the option to skip it, or better still, to take a short test to assess whether they need to refresh some skills.
In summary, except for some minor opportunities for improvement, I found this CD-ROM to be a pleasure to review and I would expect most students to find it a most welcome addition to the texts it accompanies.
UniServe Science News Volume 16 July 2000
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