Only one more week of classes left in the semester! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. Our second-to-last class of the year was called Collecting and Organizing Data and was taught by the same professor that taught the course Basic Statistics and Computer Based Analysis. As of next year, Collecting and Organizing Data will actually precede the course in Basic Statistics, which will make the course sequence more logical. Because we took Collecting and Organizing Data late in the year, we were already fairly advanced in terms of our knowledge about different study designs and our ability to conduct statistical analyses. However, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing because it made us more creative when it came to the projects we completed.
As for the projects, they were the most noteworthy component of the course. After a few weeks of lectures, we were given time to complete two large projects, one group project and one individual project. The group project included designing and administering a questionnaire on attitudes and behaviors on the topics of either speeding and bicycle use or seat belts and alcohol. After collecting data either by phone or in person from the number of people we had calculated for our target sample size, we performed statistical analyses and wrote a paper describing the whole process and presented our results as a group. The whole project required a significant amount of planning and work, which gave us great insight into what it might be like to collect data of our own if we choose to do so during our master’s thesis. The individual project provided us with even more insight into our future thesis because we had to write a paper describing the background, justification, aim, and methodology of a study we designed on a topic of our own choosing. Our course director encouraged us to explore a topic that we would be interested in working on in our master’s thesis, and I was incredibly impressed by the creativity and thought behind some of the projects that my classmates presented!