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Statistics Projects Three Examples To Relate Theory And Application

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.468.1 - 4.468.9

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Paper Authors

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Robin Lovgren

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M. Racer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2366

Statistics Projects – Three Examples to Relate Theory and Application Robin Lovgren, Michael Racer University of Memphis


The application of statistical concepts can play an important role in an engineering analysis or design. These concepts and their applications are sometimes difficult to convey to engineering students in a typical classroom setting. To aid the students in making the connection between lecture and real world applications, a series of projects was developed, and assigned to the students. This paper provides three examples that are used in an undergraduate engineering class. Sample student responses are provided and general results are examined.

I. Introduction

Recent assessments of the skills required by engineers have revealed that current engineering curricula need to be revised to show students the techniques and value of statistical analyses. In particular, the recent ABET2000 initiative highlighted the need for fundamental statistics, data analysis, and design of experiments.

The authors of this paper have been involved in the instruction of statistics courses for engineering students in various areas, and have recently instituted a series of projects within the classroom to enhance the students’ awareness of the need for statistics.

This paper presents a brief synopsis of this effort, providing detail for a few of the projects, and an assessment of the outcomes to date.

II. Objectives

The fundamental objective in developing these projects was to motivate interest in statistical analysis and applications. A statistics course was recently added to the civil engineering curricula at The University of Memphis, and there seemed to be much resistance by the students to the learning of this material. The course was originally taught in a traditional lecture format with limited results. Upon reevaluation of the situation, the following problems were identified:

 the students were slow to learn, understand, and assimilate statistical definitions, terms, and concepts;  they had a hard time seeing applications for statistical methods. Working problems out of the book did not automatically convince the student that tools could actually be applied to that situation in the real world;

Lovgren, R., & Racer, M. (1999, June), Statistics Projects Three Examples To Relate Theory And Application Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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