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Mathematics for science and technology
Mathematics for science and technology

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Week 7: Statistics and repeated measurements


Statistical information is a familiar aspect of modern life, which features routinely in, for example, news reports, sports commentaries and advertising. Scientists who have collected large amounts of data by either counting or measuring quantities also rely on statistical techniques to help them make sense of these data. Suppose you had information collected from, say, three thousand patients, all with the same medical condition but undergoing a variety of treatments. First you would need techniques for organising and describing the data, so that you could present a summary by giving just a few numbers. This is the function of ‘descriptive statistics’, covered in this course. Then you might want to analyse the data in some way, perhaps to decide whether they supported the suggestion that treatment with one particular drug is more effective than other forms of medication.

By the end of this week you will have:

  • gained an understanding of repeated measurements and samples
  • considered systemic and random uncertainty and how these are related to accuracy and precision
  • calculated the mean average for a set of data
  • gained an understanding of standard deviation.