Tu Th 10:30-12:00 in Higgins Hall 225.
Instructor: Prof. Peter Clote, Higgins 577,
email@example.com, Extension: x21332,
Office hours: Tu 2-3 and Thur 2-3 pm in Higgins 577.
TA: To be announced.
Amir Bayegan, Higgins 581,
firstname.lastname@example.org, Extension: x21342,
Office hours: Wed 2-3 and Fri 2-3 pm in Higgins 581.
Academic Integrity Policy
This course will introduce biology students to the basic statistical techniques that are used in conducting biological and medical research. The course is divided into four parts: (1) descriptive statistics (averages, variability); (2) probability and probability distributions (basic probability theory and the binomial, poison, and normal distributions); (3) statistical inference (parametric and non-parametric tests); and, (4) relationships between variables (simple and multiple regression). Students will become familiar with a standard statistical analysis software package and will critique actual research papers.
Biostatistics for the Biological and Health Sciences, 2nd Edition,
by Marc M. Triola, Mario F. Triola, Jason Roy, published by Pearson,
ISBN 978-0-13-403901-5 (hardcover), ISBN 978-0-13-403901-7 (softcover),
with E-book version costing $83.99. The second edition is somewhat
different from the first version -- in particular, exercise numbering is
different and there is an extra chapter in the second edition. Two copies
of the textbook have been placed in the Reserves Section of O'Neill Library.
The textbook is available at the BC Bookstore; see the following
link to Pearson Company.
WARNING: For statistics software, we
will use primarily EXCEL , and to a lesser
extent Mathematica. Boston College has a site license
Office as well as for
Mathematica. For Macintosh users, Excel 2016 requires Mac OS X 10.10 or
higher. If your Macintosh operating system is Mac OS X 10.9 or lower, then
you can either use Excel 2011, or
upgrade the Macintosh operating system to OS X 10.10 or higher, and then
install Excel 2016. You may download Excel 2011 and Excel 2016 at the following
the Boston College community.
One advantage of Excel 2016
is that it contains the statistics ADD-IN called "Analysis TookPak",
which simplifies the computation of simple descriptive statistics (histograms,
etc.). With slight complications, these can be computed in Excel 2011
without the Analysis Toolpak add-in.
Statistics invariably requires a
tool for number crunching. For all tests, you will need a
with statistical functions (average, standard deviation, permutations,
combinations, T-test, correlation, regression, etc.). Due to the diversity
of types of
calculator and to the fact that we will learn Excel functions in class,
you will individually be responsible for learning how to use your
scientific calculator. For the homework, and for in-class demos,
we will use statistical functions in
One advantage of using Excel
is that you are likely to have access to Excel in the workplace, regardless
of where you work, and your co-workers will be familiar with Excel.
Additionally, we may use
which produces beautiful graphics
and includes a host of built-in functions; moreover, BC has a site license,
so you can download Mathematica
Class attendance is mandatory.
Homework will be assigned on a weekly basis.
Odd-numbered exercises have answers at the back of the book.
Possibly unannounced quizzes will be given -- if you are absent when
a quiz is given, then the grade will be 0 (unless you can provide a letter
from the dean or a doctor). Dates for the two midterm examinations are
Again, any absence from a quiz or test earns a grade of 0, which can
not be made up without a letter from the dean.
The breakdown of points is given as follows (please note, that percentages
may be changed during course of semester, in which case you will receive
| Homework, class participation
| Unannounced quizzes
| Midterms 1 and 2
| Final Exam
Policy concerning telephones, calculators, etc.
All telephones must be turned off and be kept in your bag or backpack
during class. Unless otherwise instructed, no calculators or computers
may be used during examinations.
Any work handed in with your name on it is presumed to be your own work.
This applies to ALL coursework, including homework assignments,
final projects, and tests.
Any deviation from this policy, can
immediately result in a course grade of "F" and be turned over
to the Board of Academic Integrity for a hearing.
Please refer to
BC Acdademic Integrity Policy for more details concerning the university
academic integrity policy.
The following syllabus is approximate and subject to change.
In-class tests will be announced.
- Aug 29, 31: Chapters 1,2,3: course introduction, basic notions,
sampling, frequency, relative frequency, cumulative frequency,
constructing a histogram, constructing a relative frequency histogram.
- Sep 5, 7: Chapter 4, elementary probability, Venn diagrams
and counting, Bayes theorem, mortality rate, absolute and relative risk.
- Sep 12, 14:
Chapter 5, discrete probability distribution, random variable,
Bernouilli trial, binomial distribution, expectation is additive,
variance is additive provided independence holds.
- Sep 19, 21:
Chapter 5 (continuation), additional discrete probability distributions,
Poisson distribution, geometric distribution, multinomial distribution
- Sep 26, 28:
Chapter 6, continuous probability distribution, uniform distribution,
- Oct 3, 5:
Continuation of Chapter 6, continuity correction, approximating the binomial
distribution by the normal distribution, central limit theorem,
exponential distribution, Boltzmann distribution.
- Oct 10, 12:
Concluding remarks on Chapter 6, review for Midterm 1.
WARNING: MIDTERM 1 on Oct 12, covering
chapters 1-6 inclusively.
- Oct 17, 19:
Conclusion of material on Chapter 6 that was not covered on
Midterm 1. Chapter 7, point estimates for proportion.
- Oct 24, 26:
Chapter 7, point estimates for proportion and mean (both when the
population standard deviation is known, and when it is unknown),
T-distribution, sample size for estimation of proportion and mean.
Go over answers to Midterm 1.
- Oct 31, Nov 2:
Chapter 7, point estimates variance and standard deviation, chi-square
distribution, sample size for variance estimation.
Chapter 8, hypothesis testing with one sample, Z-score, T-test, type I and
II error (false positives, false negatives)
- Nov 7, 9:
Chapter 9, hypothesis testing with two samples, T-test.
- Nov 14, 16:
Chapter 10, correlation and regression
- Nov 21, 23:
WARNING: MIDTERM 2 on Tues Nov 21,
covering chapters 7-10 inclusively. Unexcused absence from Midterm 2
on Nov 21 earns a ZERO, and no make-up will be allowed - the only exceptions
are major issues that arise (deaths in the family, hospitalization, etc.)
for which a letter from the Dean is required.
In other words, please do NOT plan to return home on Nov 21, since this
is a class day and you are responsible for whatever is due that day.
Thanksgiving break Wed-Fri Nov 22-24.
- Nov 28, 30:
Chapter 11, multinomial experiment, goodness-of-fit, contingency tables
- Dec 5, 7:
Chapter 13, non-parametric statistical tests,
Wilcoxon signed-ranks test for matched pairs, Wilcoxon rank-sum test
on Mon, Dec 18 starting at 9:00 a.m. in Higgins 225