Understanding statistics is essential to understand research in the social and behavioral sciences. In this course you will learn the basics of statistics; not just how to calculate them, but also how to evaluate them. This course will also prepare you for the next course in the specialization - the course Inferential Statistics.
In the first part of the course we will discuss methods of descriptive statistics. You will learn what cases and variables are and how you can compute measures of central tendency (mean, median and mode) and dispersion (standard deviation and variance). Next, we discuss how to assess relationships between variables, and we introduce the concepts correlation and regression.
The second part of the course is concerned with the basics of probability: calculating probabilities, probability distributions and sampling distributions. You need to know about these things in order to understand how inferential statistics work.
The third part of the course consists of an introduction to methods of inferential statistics - methods that help us decide whether the patterns we see in our data are strong enough to draw conclusions about the underlying population we are interested in. We will discuss confidence intervals and significance tests.
You will not only learn about all these statistical concepts, you will also be trained to calculate and generate these statistics yourself using freely available statistical software.

From the lesson

Correlation and Regression

In this second module we’ll look at bivariate analyses: studies with two variables. First we’ll introduce the concept of correlation. We’ll investigate contingency tables (when it comes to categorical variables) and scatterplots (regarding quantitative variables). We’ll also learn how to understand and compute one of the most frequently used measures of correlation: Pearson's r. In the next part of the module we’ll introduce the method of OLS regression analysis. We’ll explain how you (or the computer) can find the regression line and how you can describe this line by means of an equation. We’ll show you that you can assess how well the regression line fits your data by means of the so-called r-squared. We conclude the module with a discussion of why you should always be very careful when interpreting the results of a regression analysis.