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Practical modern statistics

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The module provides an introduction to four major topics of modern applied statistics: medical statistics, time series, multivariate analysis, and Bayesian statistics. It’s ideal if you’ve already studied a general introductory statistics module and wish to broaden your knowledge of the field. The module emphasises underlying principles and practical applications rather than technical details. Use of a computer is an essential component – the module includes SPSS and WinBUGS software, which you’ll use to analyse data and develop your understanding of statistics. To study this module you should have a sound knowledge of basic mathematics as provided by the appropriate Level 1 module, and statistical competence at the level developed by the appropriate Level 2 study.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

The module begins with an Introduction to statistical modelling in which the statistical prerequisites are reviewed and the statistical software package SPSS is introduced. Then the four topics of the module are introduced in successive books, each with associated computer material.

Book 1 Medical statistics describes how to identify factors associated with disease, and includes topics such as cohort and case-control studies; investigating sources of bias; randomised trials; and meta-analysis.

Book 2 Time series covers methods for analysing data collected over time, and forecasting future values using exponential smoothing and ARIMA models.

Book 3 Multivariate analysis discusses statistical methods for presenting and analysing data on several variables, with sections on principal component analysis and discrimination.

Book 4 Bayesian statistics introduces the Bayesian approach to statistics, in which expert knowledge can be incorporated into statistical models. This approach has become very popular in recent years, in part owing to the availability of special statistical software such as WinBUGS, which is used in this module.

Finally, a Review unit takes a look back at the module as a whole.

The module is illustrated with practical examples and real data sets from a range of subject areas, including epidemiology, economics, education, genetics, and environmental science. Numerous activities and exercises, also based on real data, are used to illustrate the methods and develop statistical modelling and critical assessment skills.

You will learn

Successful study of this module should improve your skills in analysing and interpreting data, communicating statistical ideas clearly and succinctly, and in using professional software.

Entry

This is a Level 2 statistics module and you need to have a good knowledge of the subject area obtained either through Level 1 study with the OU or equivalent work at another university. 

You require a good knowledge of statistical ideas and methods at an introductory level. The statistical prerequisites are revised in the Introduction to statistical modelling. They include: graphical and numerical data summaries; the basic statistical distributions including the normal, exponential, uniform, binomial and Poisson distributions; confidence intervals and significance tests, correlations and contingency tables. No knowledge of regression is required. If you have taken Analysing data (M248) you should have the required statistical background. 

The module also requires a mathematical knowledge similar to that expected in an introductory statistical module such as Analysing data (M248). If you have passed M248, or Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) (or its predecessor MST121), your mathematical knowledge should be ample. You are expected to be familiar with mathematical notation, to be able to follow short algebraic arguments, to handle the logarithm and exponential functions, and to use formulae. No knowledge of calculus, differentiation or integration is required.

Please note that it is our experience that you are more likely to complete this Level 2 module successfully if you have acquired your prerequisite knowledge through passing these Level 1 and 2 modules.

You are assumed to have some experience of using a computer.

If you would like more information about this module,  you can view or download the first unit Introduction to statistical modelling here. To determine whether you are adequately prepared for this module try our Diagnostic Quiz.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer. If you are sight-impaired, you may need assistance from a sighted helper for working with the software used on the module. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Module books, DVD-ROM, website, and online forums.

You will need

A calculator.

You require access to the internet at least once a week during the module to download some essential module resources and to keep up to date with module news.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on disk.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device is not suitable for this course – check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

Please note that TMAs for all undergraduate mathematics and statistics modules must be submitted on paper as – due to technical reasons – we are unable to accept TMAs via our eTMA system.

Professional recognition

This module may help you to gain membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). For further information, see the IMA website.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“This is a great module. To be honest my interest is mathematics and not statistics. I only chose to do ...”
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“I struggled with this course because I did M248 alongside. I really wish I'd done M248 first so I had ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code M249
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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