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MSU Faculty Authors


Jane L. Harvill

Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Statistics

E-mail address: harvill@math.msstate.edu
Website: http://www.msstate.edu/dept/math/websites/faculty/harvill.html

Dr. Jane Harvill received her Ph.D. in Statistics in 1994 from Texas A&M University. Since 1998, she has been an Assistant Professor of Statistics in the Department of Statistics at Mississippi University. From 1994 until 1998, she was an Assistant Professor of Applied Statistics in the Department of Applied Statistics and Operations Research at Bowling Green State University, where she served as the Graduate Coordinator of the Masters in Applied Statistics Program.

Dr. Harvill's area of research is nonlinear time series and computational statistics. She has published a number of papers integrating the two areas. She has received funding for her work in these areas from the National Science Foundation. Funding from the National Institute of Health supports her work in Quality Control in conjunction with a project Epidemiology on the Internet, co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, based at the University of Pittsburgh. She also serves as an associate editor for The Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation and for Computational Statistics.

She has served as a Faculty Consultant for Advanced Placement Statistics. She has co-authored a statistics textbook and software StatConcepts: A Visual Tour of Statistical Ideas, with H. Joseph Newton of Texas A&M
University. Stemming from the success of the book and software, she has published papers in statistical education, and has given invited presentations on using graphics to teach statistics and statistics to teach graphics. She is an active member of the Statistical Education Section of the American Statistical Association. She has refereed numerous papers on statistical education, and reviewed a number of statistics texts and software packages. Dr. Harvill also has experience in using the internet to teach statistics. She currently maintains a website for each of the classes she teaches. She continues to stay current in developments in using internet materials to teach statistics.

Stat Concepts: A Visual Tour of Statistical Ideas

Harvill, Jane L.
Publisher: Duxbury
ISBN: 0534265529

Most introductory statistics courses consist of three parts: 1) Descriptive statistics; using numbers and graphs to summarize the information about a data set, 2) Inferential statistics; making conclusions about numerical characteristics of entire populations of objects from those of samples from the populations, and 3) Statistical concepts; the basic logical and mathematical ideas underpinning descriptive and inferential statistics.

There are a wide variety of computer programs that make it easy for students to accomplish what is required for the first two of these parts, while there is very little software for illustrating statistical concepts. That's why we wrote StatConcepts; a set of "laboratories" for illustrating ideas.

StatConcepts is actually a collection of programs written in the language of StataQuest, which is a student version of a program called Stata which is designed to do descriptive and inferential statistics.

StatConcepts is not intended as a text, but as a supplement to the many introductory statistics texts that exist. Its main focus is on correct intrepretation and understanding of statistical concepts, terminology, and results and not on computation for a given problem, although there are some labs that allow students to compute results.

In many ways, the computer is the laboratory for the science of statistics. Most of the ideas of statistics start out with the phrase "If we did this procedure over and over again, then this is what we would see." The only way to realistically do things over and over again is on a computer. In these labs we have tried to use graphics to show what in fact we would see if we did various things over and over again.

We assume that instructors will not incorporate all of the labs in the StatConcepts collection (there are 28 of them!) into a course, but rather pick and choose those they feel would be most useful in the course (and that they have time to cover in their already cramped schedule).

We would hope that instructors can show the labs to the students using some kind of projection, but each chapter of this book contains a "guided tour" through each lab that a student could read while at a computer. These guided tours cannot totally replace an instructor but they can certainly help instructors use the labs as a supplement to their course.

While the labs and this book is intended primarily for introductory courses, we have found them very valuable in courses at all levels. The level has been kept as nontechnical as possible, but more advanced students will be able to relate to the graphs and descriptions at a more mathematical level.