Revising Statistics: Shifting From Hand-Calculations to Computer-Based Analysis in a General Education Statistics Course
Anne E. Stuart (American International College) Sandra A. Sego (American International College) Destinee L. Chambers (American International College)
Do you have research methods course that follows the stats course? I wonder if you would also find students retain more when they then go into research methods.
For our majors, they have an additional Advanced Statistics course after the Gen Ed. stats. Then they have the research methods course.
We haven’t been running the newly revised course long enough (without pandemic modifications) to see changes with the other courses, but it will be something we watch for.
This would be a super interesting question to test! I was just talking with my research lab students last week about how they felt like they learned all these hand calculations in stats and never used them again in their advanced research methods course where they’re completing a research project. Similarly, when do we ever hand-calculate our statistics in our own research projects? I know there are arguments for and against teaching stats with either hand calculations or software, so it’s interesting to see research about it specifically.
I’d be interested in learning more about the specifics of what was included in the class and what type of textbook was used. Do the students do absolutely no hand calculations or are there some early in the class and then a switch to only SPSS as more complex statistics are taught (e.g., ANOVAs)?
We teach SPSS in our PSY stats class but also have them do some hand calculations. I would worry that switching fully to SPSS would leave students without a full understanding of some of the concepts without at least some hand calcs at the start.
Most PSY stats books I’ve seen are heavily loaded with formulas and calculation information (which perhaps wouldn’t be needed with this approach?). Are there alternatives?