Where to Look For Good Topics for Statistics Projects
A statistics report (or paper) serves the specific purpose of educating readers on a specific project or subject matter. It is possible to write a noteworthy statistical report by following the guidelines of the paper (or the assignment rubric), following proper formatting rules and remembering to include all of the relevant information, facts and figures that anyone reading the report might want to know.
You will begin your stats project with a thought provoking and facts based introduction that is not only supported by tangible evidence but also clearly explains the purpose of your research and introduces the report to come. From here, you will delve into the research methods you’ve deployed, otherwise known as the methodology. You will also clearly explain how you went about collecting data along with the various experiments that you’ve conducted.
Ideally your findings (or results) should be presented to the audience with the aid of graphs and charts, however, remember not to analyze or discuss the numbers just yet. Typically, in a statistics project, these types of findings and all other analysis is saved for the conclusion.
After you have completed your written report, depending on the project rubric, you might be asked to draft a 200-word abstract and create a title page (or cover sheet) that includes your full name, the title of the report, the date and the relevant course or class information. It is crucial to remember to clearly cite every source used both in your research and in the report itself. Follow the citation style used in your class or field of study. Failing to do so ultimately could result in accusations of plagiarism – ending your academic career.
Continue reading for help choosing topics for statistics reports, and for guidance on the best way to format a statistics paper worthy of an A+ grade.
How to Select Good Topics for Statistics Projects
At the very root, a statistical project involves a student (typically in an advanced statistics, sciences or mathematics class) answering a complex research-based question, while using statistical techniques to support their findings. The research used, the figures found and their conclusion are presented in a compete written report.
The research topic or question asked will most often come from any field of scientific means, for example athletics, aerodynamics, nutrition, etc. This type of project is different from a stats poster given that a statistical report is designed to present conclusions and results.
Problem Solving Using Data
The methods used to develop a statistics report need to clearly demonstrate the specific scientific method used to answer a specific question. This includes how the data was collected and analyzed and how conclusions were drawn upon.
Given that students are often asking questions about the things that affect their daily lives, they should not be stuck when it comes to finding questions about their lives, schools, homes, or other interesting occurrences around the globe.
After the research question has been asked, students should thoroughly examine it. Initially, they should ask – Is this a question that can be answered? For example, ‘does intelligent life exist somewhere other than Earth’ may be an interesting question, but it is not one that can practically be answered using facts based or scientific methods.
After the question is selected, the data should be collected. Whenever students choose to use published data, they must demonstrate their ability to understand how the data was obtained by clearly citing their source. Typically students decide to collect and compile their own data. They should invest a fair amount of time into determining how to best collect this data. If they decide to use a survey, they must demonstrate how people were chosen to answer the survey. Whenever two items are compared (ie males v females) they must determine how these comparisons are fairly made.
Once the necessary details are ironed out, students can begin to collect or extrapolate their data. It is important to be extremely astute at every stage of data collection. It is impossible to correct careless data collection in the analysis phase of a stats report.
Careful analysis of data comes in many forms, and must always be driven by the original question and the methods used to collect the data. Most often, students will start by using a graph to chart their findings. Does the question allow for the use of graphs to support the answer, does it make sense to do things this way? Normally, graphics will be the single source for data analysis for students in lower or less advanced grades. As their experience begins to grow, they will begin to use more scientific means such as a t-test or chi-squared testing. Regression might be used, or even estimation. Other methods will depend on the nature of the report itself.
After analysis is concluded, the question is answered, hopefully. It is possible that the data might now be able to provide a conclusive answer. For instance, the student might find that one method worked better than the other, but there was no major difference in the two. In the event that a conclusive answer is found, it is necessary to present that information. Students must try not to get caught up in their analysis as this often results in finding multiple answers and not being able to conclusively respond to the research question.
The written report must clearly and effectively demonstrate:
- Why and how the specific topic was selected
- How the research was carried out
- What, if any, conclusions were made
- The data collected and its analysis
- The strengths and the weaknesses of every statistical method used
What is Statistics?
Statistics by definition is the method of collecting, analysing, interpreting, presenting and organizing data. Most often, this is a branch off of advanced mathematics. Whenever a statistician or student applies statistics, for instance, in a specific scientific, social or industrial setting, it is common to start with a statistical survey of the population or a statistical model may be explored.
For more information regarding the definition of statistics and how it is applied on a scientific scale, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistics
Understanding What is Statistics Project Format
If you have never written a statistics report before, and your teacher has not provided you with a format or guidelines to follow, it might be helpful to begin by researching other statistics reports. This can be done by viewing reports online or asking a local librarian to help you find sample reports.
Be mindful of following these samples closely though, particularly if they were created for a specific field of study. Different research fields have developed their own best practices and research methods. For example, a report completed by someone with an advanced degree in mathematics will look vastly different from one created by a market researcher for a condo development.
Use easy to read font to type your report
Unless otherwise directed, your report should be single spaced, using a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial and done in 12pt font.
You will want to leave 1in margins around every side of the paper and be mindful when using pictorials or graphs to ensure that they don’t hang over the margins otherwise you will have trouble printing.
If you plan to put your paper into a binder or folder, you might choose to leave a 1.5in margin on the left hand side.
Never double space your paper unless your teacher specifically requests you to do so. And, remember to use headers and page numbers.
Always follow the appropriate citation style
Again, different fields of study use different citation styles for referencing books, articles, and other research material. Always use the method that is most common to your field.
If you are stuck, you can typically find citation methods in style manuals, or most modern word processors can be set to include these by default. Again, when in doubt, as your teacher.
Make a cover sheet or title page
A title page presents the reader with the title of your report, your name and also the names of anyone who might have contributed to the research phase. It also serves to enhance the overall packaging or presentation of the report.
Typically, you will need a cover page. Even if it is not expressly stated in the project instructions, it is in good practice to make on anyways, it will only add value. You might also choose to include a table of contents, this is especially meaningful for longer reports.
Organize your work with section headers
Depending on the project instructions, and what the report will be used for, headings will keep it will organized and make it easier to read. This is especially helpful for anyone who might need to skim through or move between sections quickly.
Headings should always be bolded and justified in a way that sets them apart from the rest of the text. You might choose to center align in a larger font, or maybe change the color.
Check your layout using Print Preview
Print Preview is a fantastic tool that can be used to determine how exactly the report will look after it is printed. This will give you a chance to see if everything lines up, or if any of the formatting should be changed.
Remember to inspect the margins, make sure that there is not too much (or too little) white space and that all of the graphics look correct.
Tips for writing the abstract
The abstract is a short description of the report, it mentions various project elements like the methodologies, the results and the analysis. It is seldom longer than 200 words in length.
Stay away from overly scientific language. The abstract needs to be understandable to the average reader – not those who will be reading the report in its entirety.
It might be helpful to consider the abstract as a short sales pitch, something used to hype up the report and get readers interested in your research.
The abstract should always be written AFTER you’ve finished your entire report.
Statistics Project Format
- Cover Page
- Table of Contents
- Analysis and Results
- Problems or Challenges
Have a Look at Statistics Project Examples
It is always helpful to see concrete examples of statistical reports that have been written by someone else to help you to gain greater insight into what is involved in preparing and authoring a great report. Some ways to do this include:
- Researching reports written by others in your same field either online or in a trade magazine
- Asking your teacher to provide you will examples of papers written in the past
- Using the schools intranet to look up high quality statistical projects that might have been written by students from previous years
- Asking the local or school librarian to help you to find past projects or sources from the library (tip they could also likely point you in the direction of some really great research material and introduce you to data collection methods that you might not have though of on your own)
Some Sources of Interesting Statistics Project Ideas
If you have not been given a pre-assigned research question in your project overview, there are a number of places you can go to find topics lists. You may choose to examine things that effect your own life or you can select topics from the examples below: