Understanding statistics is essential to understand research in the social and behavioral sciences. In this course you will learn the basics of statistics; not just how to calculate them, but also how to evaluate them. This course will also prepare you for the next course in the specialization - the course Inferential Statistics.
In the first part of the course we will discuss methods of descriptive statistics. You will learn what cases and variables are and how you can compute measures of central tendency (mean, median and mode) and dispersion (standard deviation and variance). Next, we discuss how to assess relationships between variables, and we introduce the concepts correlation and regression.
The second part of the course is concerned with the basics of probability: calculating probabilities, probability distributions and sampling distributions. You need to know about these things in order to understand how inferential statistics work.
The third part of the course consists of an introduction to methods of inferential statistics - methods that help us decide whether the patterns we see in our data are strong enough to draw conclusions about the underlying population we are interested in. We will discuss confidence intervals and significance tests.
You will not only learn about all these statistical concepts, you will also be trained to calculate and generate these statistics yourself using freely available statistical software.

From the lesson

Exploring Data

In this first module, we’ll introduce the basic concepts of descriptive statistics. We’ll talk about cases and variables, and we’ll explain how you can order them in a so-called data matrix. We’ll discuss various levels of measurement and we’ll show you how you can present your data by means of tables and graphs. We’ll also introduce measures of central tendency (like mode, median and mean) and dispersion (like range, interquartile range, variance and standard deviation). We’ll not only tell you how to interpret them; we’ll also explain how you can compute them. Finally, we’ll tell you more about z-scores. In this module we’ll only discuss situations in which we analyze one single variable. This is what we call univariate analysis. In the next module we will also introduce studies in which more variables are involved.