Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences flower

Purpose

Statistics in the Behavioral Sciences introduce students to understanding statistical analyses utilized as professional tools in the social and behavioral sciences. These analyses include descriptive statistics (summaries and organization) and inferential statistics (drawing inferences from samples to make generalizations or conclusions about populations). In my class there is a major emphasis on vocabulary and descriptive statistics and minor emphasis on inferential statistics.

Reflection

This course is one of my most challenging courses to teach, as many psychology instructors may conclude, especially when teaching for the first time. When I first started, I made an assumption that students already understood the differences between populations and samples, and independent and dependent variables. Well my assumption was completely off target, because students despised me at the course's conclusion. However, it could have been the course material itself. The textbook I used the first time I taught the course was simply terrible, and certainly, it did not aid my instruction. I recognized that I needed to find a text that offered clearer illustrations of topics, and possibly video enhanced. The second time, I thought I was going to do much better with an online textbook. This textbook did have the topic illustration (diagrams and videos). However, the language typically found in statistics questions of a social or behavioral nature were lacking. Instead of providing actual examples from journal articles, their questions were based on hypothetical yet unrealistic situations of animal behavior. In addition, the assessments were poor since the text focused more on multiple choice questions as opposed to statistical questions that required students to apply, analyze and evaluate (Bloom's Taxonomy). Therefore, the third time I taught this course, I diligently searched for an excellent text. I found it and it greatly improved my teaching. It is not an online textbook, but compensates for this weakness with numerous statistical questions drawn from journal articles, an elaborate historical context of statistical facts and theorems, and a lucid step-by-step work through of problems in the book and on the Powerpoint slides. This text actually taught me to be a better instructor because now I understood why these statistical facts or theories were created in the first place, which provides students with ample evidence about WHY statistics is critical to understanding patterns of animal behavior and social customs.

Syllabus

This is my syllabus for the course. If you need a copy, please contact me.

Evaluations

Here is the link to the evaluation for this class for Spring 2016, Fall 2017Fall 2018 and Fall 2019.

 

Photo Credit: "neato1_small" by IsaacMao is licensed under CC BY 2.0