Back to Inferential Statistics

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Inferential statistics are concerned with making inferences based on relations found in the sample, to relations in the population. Inferential statistics help us decide, for example, whether the differences between groups that we see in our data are strong enough to provide support for our hypothesis that group differences exist in general, in the entire population.
We will start by considering the basic principles of significance testing: the sampling and test statistic distribution, p-value, significance level, power and type I and type II errors. Then we will consider a large number of statistical tests and techniques that help us make inferences for different types of data and different types of research designs. For each individual statistical test we will consider how it works, for what data and design it is appropriate and how results should be interpreted. You will also learn how to perform these tests using freely available software.
For those who are already familiar with statistical testing: We will look at z-tests for 1 and 2 proportions, McNemar's test for dependent proportions, t-tests for 1 mean (paired differences) and 2 means, the Chi-square test for independence, Fisherâ€™s exact test, simple regression (linear and exponential) and multiple regression (linear and logistic), one way and factorial analysis of variance, and non-parametric tests (Wilcoxon, Kruskal-Wallis, sign test, signed-rank test, runs test)....

YZ

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I understood inferential statistics better with this course. Both teachers made the concepts clear for me. The R homework helps me review inferential statistics methods.

KH

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Mostly good, easy to understand. Would like to also understand how to work with actual, bigger data with R etc

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By Scott A H

â€¢Jan 3, 2017

I found the course was very confusing and the language used in the quizzes and exams didn't always match the language used in the lessons making it very difficult to understand what was wanted.

For a non-specialist, statistics is almost always a struggle, intently making it more difficult by trying to use trick questions and application in the quizzes and exam beyond what was covered in the course makes it really really difficult for those of us who are naturals at math.

I worked really hard in the course and finally made it thought all 6 weeks of the course but after one try at the final exam I said to myself enough is enough. I hate being a quitter, but I was not learning statistics and causing myself many headaches and feelings of inferiority and self-doubt because I just couldn't match the quiz and exam questions to the material covered in the course.

Maybe other people are much smarter than I am, but this source was a soul and time killer for me.

By Markus W

â€¢May 15, 2016

For someone who is not familiar with inferential statistics, this course is too compact. I lost the overall picture: it seems that a dozend methods were introduced, but I failed to understand under which preconditions each method is deployable. I am confused.

By Sara J

â€¢May 16, 2019

Terrible confusing questions in final... never take this if you are a beginner!

Incredible to see I am passing all quizzes and R labs given the lack of supervision and guidance from professors (this is after I have consistently sent emails and asked for extra help).

PLEASE revise this whole course for the sake of education.

By Huynh L D

â€¢Sep 3, 2016

This course is awesome on so many levels. This is the best inferential statistics course I've come across. Here's why:

*** The slides are beautiful and visually appealing, making following the rigorous content easier to digest.

*** Instructors are captivating and articulate, the explanations are clear and concise.

*** The assignments are very very tough, making the course incredibly challenging, but worth it. Honestly, I don't get why people give 1 star because the course is tough. This should be a huge plus.

It was a real challenge getting 100% for everything. For every quiz, I attempted 2 - 3 times to get 100%. The challenge is worth it. I couldn't thank you enough for this course. You explain tough statistical concepts like the difference between prediction intervals and confidence intervals really well. Also, I think this course has the best teaching for Analysis of Variance (I have taken a few other statistics moocs). Also, your course helped me appreciate the meaning of R-squared, standard errors, confidence intervals in a very intuitive fashion. There are many other new things I've learnt from your course, some of them I thought I knew, but you helped me to either "Aha" or understand them more deeply.

Before this course, most of the time statistics to me is like plug-and-play using procedures and and softwares. But now, I can understand the concepts and what the calculations really mean.

Thank you for creating quizzes that make us really do step-by-step calculations and not just plug data into equations to get results like so many other statistics moocs do.

The pedagogy is really great. Sometimes quizzes can be frustrating because I need to read very carefully into the meaning of the questions and all the options. However, the learning experience is really worth it.

Again, thank you for an amazing course! This is rare stuff!

It is without a doubt, a lot of passion and effort has been put into this course and this series.

By Deleted A

â€¢Mar 13, 2019

Week 1 to Week 5 were well explained, however the quality of the videos declined steadily to the end of the module. Many inconsistencies between video - audio - written text.

Most upsetting was quality of Week 6. In comparison to the parametric statistic parts which were super well organised, structured in assumption - hypothesis - test statistic and anything else important, the Week 6 was terribly confusing. It did not contain the most important formulas and explanations (I was researching online on other fora to reply to the quizz). I suggest a full review of non-parametric statistics, as it is an important chapter for many social scientists working with smaller sample research. I really think this has been neglected over the previous parts.

Also in comparison to Module of Basic Statistics, this one has not had a great quizz section. There are no hints of what might have gone wrong when answers are wrong, so the learning effect is 0 if we get answers wrong.

By Grace L

â€¢Jul 8, 2018

I don't feel the videos were sufficient enough to teach the methods for working through the formulas or to efficiently identify which scenario a certain formula was to be applied. The quiz instructions were vague and it was extremely difficult to know exactly what was being asked or which formula to apply. Often I had to result in giving my best guess. Forums were not helpful. Most questions were two years old or a few months old at the earliest and answers were not helpful. This course is especially confusing for beginners. I don't see how people have actually been able to learn from this course. With Basic Statistics course I at least felt I got a good basic understanding of the material. This course went miles over my head.

By Tay J

â€¢Aug 7, 2017

While I appreciate the staff's efforts in making this MOOC and would love to thank them with five stars, I decided to give an average rating. I feel like too much material was packed in short lectures so that it is almost impossible to understand them fully (it gets increasingly so after week five). Oftentimes new concepts are explained and gone within seconds, and it largely comes down to memorizing formulas rather than understanding them. It seems like the lecturers were reading off a script that does not necessarily take into consideration the capacity of a student who just began learning inferential statistics.

I don't know - if one is already somewhat familiar with the materials or a genius then he or she may not have a problem following the course. But I, having had a reasonably good knowledge in basic statistics before the start of this course (obtained good results in both offline and online upper-secondary school-to- elementary freshman level basic statistics courses), frequently had to watch other MOOCs (e.g. there is a great course on inferential statistics on Khan Academy - longer videos for the same topics but they let you grasp the principles firmly) because I simply did not find the course videos sufficient.

On the positive side, I found the R-labs helpful. On top of that, quizzes and exams were quite difficult for a MOOC, which sometimes caused frustrations but still forced you to put a significant effort to learning.

On the negative side of the difficulty, sometimes I was stuck with utterly no way to proceed in the quizzes. Forums are not very active. Because the lectures are short and packed with content, they often did not contain any hands-on problem-solving procedures, and the student is left with abstract concepts and formulas at the quizzes. From time to time there are errors in the video graphics or quiz questions.

In the end, I did pass the course with about 94% final grade. However, I feel like I could have saved some time and frustration had the concepts been explained in more detail in a more learner-friendly manner and if there was a way to get some guidance (like hints) when stuck at certain quiz questions.

By yongbin z

â€¢Apr 14, 2016

I understood inferential statistics better with this course. Both teachers made the concepts clear for me. The R homework helps me review inferential statistics methods.

By Syberen v M

â€¢Apr 7, 2019

I took this course as a follow up to "basic statistics". The course is dense and fast-paced, so that's something to prepare for. Here are my observations:

The good:

The R labs are a lot better compared to basic statistics, where they were a disaster. You'll put to use the built-in functions in R to calculate your results.

Also the general amount of information is nice, I feel like I learned a lot about inferential statistics.

The bad:

Sometimes the videos are too fast, functions are shown for 2 seconds not allowing time to absorb the material. I often have to go to other sources to clarify what was meant.

Also frustrating is that there's no feedback on the exams, you're left to guess what you did wrong. Multiple times I found out that it was a rounding error, but the amount of digits are not specified in the question, so you have to re-take the exam several times until you find the expected amount of digits.

Finally, some of the required formulas are not included in the "formulas and tables" document. I hope this will be fixed, since this is essential to passing the course successfully.

By Patrick C

â€¢Mar 28, 2020

I felt this course was educational and worth the effort.... BUT it was effort. The lecture progressively got more difficult to tease out the necessary nuggets of info for the exams.. Glad its over...Would not like to do it again

By Jose M P

â€¢Jul 17, 2020

The previous course (Basic Statistics) was way better at explaining subjects and what the mistakes where in tests. This made it easier to learn than this course which was way more complicated and strict in their questions. I ended up not understanding some subjects entirely but also I don't understand what is it that I got wrong. Maybe there are ways to find out but I barely had time to complete the course so I had even less time to do a thorough research on every mistake I had. Just wished this was easier.

Also, there are some mistakes with what the teachers are saying and the numbers in the videos. Normally I would just understand it as an honest mistake, but I noticed people made remarks on this 2 years ago or so and they haven't been fixed. This makes me feel like the University of Amsterdam doesn't really care about the quality of this course.

In conclusion, subjects are very interesting and if you have the time to really dig into the course, it is ok. But because I paid a monthly fee, I expected it to be of far better quality and more student friendly and not just an old fashioned course where you have to get by on your own.

By Elpida S

â€¢Jul 17, 2018

First of all, it is a very demanding course. I claim that it could not be easy for everybody to complete it especially in the field of Social Sciences. Secondly, we must attend a lot of material. Both quiz and assigments are so challenging. That means that is a very stressful proccess, each of us should devote so much time in order to keep up with the deadlines. Moreover there are a lot of theoritical videos , a lot of types, of course is very difficult to put into practice.. All of the learners have busy life ( I suppose) and this course really does not help at all.

By Zainab H

â€¢Oct 25, 2018

This course was relatively difficult for my slow brain. I learned A LOT. but I still feel the need for doing this course one more time

By Yanbing S

â€¢Jun 2, 2019

It's good for a person who needs a certificate urgently. But not good enough for someone who wants to master the subject.

The course is very rigorous in terms of the depth and width of the content. But for the later weeks, the videos were so succinct that many details are not explained well. For a beginner, this is apparently insufficient. I had to look it up on other websites to know what they are talking about (I also wished they had recommended a textbook). Also, the lack of practices also makes the course less valuable for someone who wants to actually be good at it.

By GÃ©rard Y

â€¢Jul 13, 2018

A pity: the learning objective is really interesting, but the course quality does not live up to expectations. Teachers rush too fast into videos, without taking time to elaborate on terms used in formulas, elaborate with one example, explaining pitfalls, or explaining how we should do things in practice (for example in relation with statistical software). Examples lack variety: I liked the videos on Chi-Square test which used a different analogy with paintings. Variations on cats statistics tend to blend together in memory, and be less efficient. There's also a lack of written textbook that we can consult as a reference. The tables and formulas pdf file is a start, but is lacking many formulas and tables, explanation of data used in formulas; some sections are not even in English. Last point (I keep the positive at the end), the codecamp was really good overall.

By Rafael d M B

â€¢Jul 23, 2020

where to start??

Well, the R Lab tasks are really really great. Except for that, the course is pretty bad. They just spit formulas and formulas and formulas - as if we did not have statistical software to help us - and rarely provide good, objective and clear explanations of concepts and etc. I mean, all the tests assumptions, 'when to use' and benefits are there, but are shadowed by the enormous amount of formulas and statistical tables (all the hard work that we can easily simplify on R or Python, really.

Furthermore, some week quizzers need herculean efforts to complete. Not because they are hard, no. But because if you answer something wrong, you have to do that again, because it doesn't indicate your previous answer. The quizzes also don't explain where you got something wrong and how to solve it (I mean, they say 'check the forum', well good luck with that. I am still waiting for some comments on the post I made on the forum). Furthermore, bad-wording is common on some quizzes and sometimes it is not specified to which decimal place I need to round my results. For real, I failed the week 4 test 3 times because some answer was something like 1.66667 and mine was 1.6667. Please, INDICATE HOW MANY DECIMALS I NEED TO ROUND. This specialization is really good, but this inferential module is really off, especially when compared to the Basic Statistics one.

The instructors are very good, but all those issues really bugged me on this module, hope you guys try to fix it. You are great!!!

By Nicholas D

â€¢Feb 13, 2018

Incredibly dense (which they warn you about) so the lecutres fly over so much important info it's hard to keep track of even with a strong focus. A very good overview though.

By Frank N

â€¢Mar 31, 2021

The content of this course is great. The pace of teaching is a bit too fast, and that is not helpful to learners. However, I am grateful for the knowledge.

By Pankaj A

â€¢Jul 4, 2017

Hi, I enjoyed really well and this very good course on Inferential Statistics. My experience was really good. Thank you for providing the course for free!

By Hang T

â€¢Nov 23, 2017

Great!! I've completed. Its quite hard initially but it would be pretty easy if you read given Formulas table. Trust me!!

By Jackson H

â€¢Oct 7, 2017

Videos have massive typos in equations, quizzes are never clear as to how many decimal places they want (sometimes 3, sometimes 4, sometimes rounded), and quizzes require you complete problems but provide no examples in the videos.

By Agnes T

â€¢Mar 11, 2021

This course managed to help me learn what I consider to be a very difficult topic and what I loved most about it was that it really took baby steps, showing how each calculation was made, each graph, and worked only based on concrete examples and not so much on hypothetical situations. Also the quizzes, even if they have been quite disproportionate in terms of difficulty from one to another, contained items that really made you try to understand a concept and transpose it into a new context. It was a greatly useful course and well above every other course I tried before on statistics.

By Soh W K

â€¢May 13, 2020

Inferential Statistics, probably the most important course which I had taken in my lifetime, and it's pretty difficult. However, the reward is a sense of achievement that after you gone through the grueling course syllabus, and passed the course, with all your own calculations, and own understanding, you will know that you had become a qualified entry level RESEARCHER. If getting a Masters or PhD. is your dream in life, this course is highly recommended to gain a length & breath & deep understanding of Inferential Statistics!

By Arman B K

â€¢Nov 13, 2018

Completing this course requires perseverence but it is 100% worth it. There's a lot of material covered and the videos simply provide signposts for the topics but one doesn't learn statistics by watching videos. The real learning takes place during quizzes and assignments. The final exam is time consuming and tough and students need to truly master the material to earn a high grade.

By Mahadi H

â€¢Jul 25, 2020

Feeling blessed to perform this course . It was truly an amazing experience for me to go though this course .Learned bunch of theories with their mathematical example.Thanks to the instructors.