Biostatistics is a field that applies statistical methodologies and reasoning to medical, biological, and public health problems. Used in many disciplines, such as psychology, epidemiology, and demography, methods developed by biostatisticians allow us to adapt and extend statistical tools to situations involving people or animals. This course for undergraduate students is intended to introduce the fundamental concepts of biostatistics. Through the collection, description, and visualization of data, students will learn to apply statistical thinking to make informed decisions related to practical problems across several health disciplines. Further, with the knowledge that each decision we make may be incorrect, we will explore methods to quantify and communicate how often we may make a mistake. Topics include descriptive statistics; sampling; estimation and hypothesis testing; sample size and power; correlation and regression methods. Examples and readings will be drawn from public health practice and the news. Use of R as statistical software package will be introduced.
Class Time: Spring 2020, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 1:35pm – 2:40pm
Class Location: Kariotis Hall 209
Credit hours: 4 semester hours
Instructor: Prof. Justin Manjourides
Office location: 312 Robinson Hall
Office hours: To be voted on in class
Email: j.manjourides at northeastern dot edu
Teaching Assistant: TBD
NOTE: I am here to help you learn this material. If you are struggling, I encourage you to reach out via office hours or to make an appointment. Office hours are scheduled for your benefit, and it is not a burden on me to meet with you during those times.
Course Goals: Students participating in this course should acquire the ability read and think critically about research published in leading health journals:
- What are the goals of the study?
- How were the data collected?
- What types of biases may be present? - Were appropriate methods used to describe, analyze, and visualize the data?
- Are the conclusions justified?
Course Outcomes: By the end of this course you will be able to:
- Interpret health data using both numeric and graphic techniques
- Quantify the uncertainty surrounding assumptions about data by creating, testing, and interpreting statistical hypotheses.
- Appropriately design studies by calculating necessary sample sizes
- Infer associations between variables through linear regression modeling
- Evaluate statistical measures reported in medical literature through research and use of course vocabulary
- Use R to summarize, analyze, and display data
Classroom participation is expected. Everyone is expected to be respectful of fellow classmates.
Computers may be used during class for the purpose of taking notes and will be required during the labs. Cell phones should, at a minimum, be on silent, but preferably turned off.
Academic Honesty: “Northeastern University is committed to the principles of intellectual honesty and integrity. All members of the Northeastern community are expected to maintain complete honesty in all academic work, presenting only that which is their own work on tests and assignments. If you have questions regarding the definitions of cheating or plagiarism, consult the Northeastern University Student Handbook and/or contact the professor prior to submitting work for evaluation.” Any student who has witnessed an act of academic dishonesty should report it to the course faculty member.
Homework Assignments (45%): The 8 homework assignments are to be completed and turned in prior to the beginning of the class in which they are due. You may collaborate on your assignments, though I recommend trying the problems on your own first, which will prepare you best for the exams. If you choose to collaborate with other students, each student must turn in their own homework assignment, written in their own words. No joint assignments will be accepted. If your assignment is word-for-word the same as another student’s, you will split the grade earned. Late homework assignments will not be accepted.
Exams (45%): Three exams will be held in class. The first two exams will be held according to the dates on the syllabus. The third exam wioll be held according to the University’s Final Exam Schedule and will be announced at a later date. Students are reminded to check the exam dates and final exam schedule before making any flight reservations home for the holidays. Early flight reservations will not be a reason to miss any exams.
Participation (5%): Attendance and participation in classes and lab sections are expected to earn full participation credit. If a conflict arises that cannot be avoided, it is anticipated that students will provide communicate their absence to the professor in advance. If a student needs to miss a class, they are still expected to turn in any assignment due during that course prior to the beginning of the class in which they are due.
R Basics quiz (5%): There will be one quiz held in class on 1/13/20. This quiz will cover the basics of the R statistical software package.
93-100% = A
90-92% = A-
87-89% = B+
83-86% = B
80-82% = B-
77-79% = C+
73-76% = C
70-72% = C-
67-69% = D+
63-66% = D
60-62% = D-
59% and below = F
If you have specific physical, psychiatric or learning disabilities that may require accommodations for this course, please contact Northeastern’s Disabilities Resource Center (DRC) at (617) 373-2675. The DRC can provide you with information and assistance to help manage any challenges that could affect your performance in the course. The University requires that you provide documentation of your disabilities to the DRC so that they may identify what accommodations are required, and arrange with the instructor to provide those on your behalf, as needed.
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