Online Program

Involving MS Students in Consulting and Research: Novel Use of Statistical Software in Industrial and Biomedical Statistics

*Timothy O’Brien, Loyola University Chicago 

Keywords: decision-making; likelihood; modelling; statistical education

Basic courses in applied biostatistics, statistical methods, design and regression focus on hypothesis testing and estimation for linear and nonlinear models by providing students and decision-makers the methodology (i.e., test statistics and confidence intervals) to reach conclusions by narrowly focusing on individual t-tests and global F-tests. These courses leave students and managers with an overly simplistic view of how informed statistical decisions are made in practice.

This poster focuses on the more recent pedagogical ideas of exposing students to underlying likelihood methods and treating these specific (t- and F-) tests as special cases embedded in this larger structure. Key to this better decision-making process is powerful statistical software, and our focus is here on the use of the SAS® and R software packages to provide the means to make some of these important decisions. We also discuss and highlight our experiences with involving graduate students in both statistical consulting projects as well as research to further their educational activities and to provide for a capstone to their studies.

The approaches highlighted here enable students and managers to pose and examine more meaningful queries. For example, the techniques discussed here allow practitioners to focus on the estimation of important model parameters in the presence of serially correlated errors rather than on the detection of the exact time-series error structure. Numerous additional practical examples of the applicability of likelihood methods are provided and discussed; specifically, the provided illustrations include novel approaches useful in statistical modelling, drug synergy and relative potency.