Final Project

The final project is a group assignment.  Your group should include people in your lab section. The final project is completed in phases. The phases (described below) are designed to ensure progress throughout the semester.

Phase 1: Form Group (due 9/28):

Form groups of 3 or 4, decide on a group name.

Phase 2: Research Topic Ideas (due 10/5):

Decide on a topic that interests your group and how you will collect data to answer it. Why do you care about this problem and why is it worth studying?  Write no more than 1 page submit via Google Drive (location to be provided).

Phase 2a: Lightning Talk (10/5 in class):

Three minute presentation of your research topic. You will be strictly limited to three minutes. Only one person from each group may present. (see lightning talk guidelines)

Phase 3: Meeting 1 (week of 10/9):

Each group must meet with Seth for 15-30 minutes to brainstorm about your project. At the end of this meeting you should have a specific research question and an outline of a data collection plan that identifies a focal population, sampling plan and/or experimental design, and data collection instrument (sign up form to be distributed).

Phase 4: Full Project Description and Data Collection Protocol (Due 10/24):

Write two pages describing the research question you have decided to study, why it is worth studying (or your motivation for the study), and what data you plan to collect.  The plan should include the following sections:

  • Problem description: Describe what you are studying, why it its important/interesting, and the hypotheses you aim to test.
  • Data Collection: Describe how you will collect the data.  If you will be collecting a sample, how will you select people?  How will ensure the sample is as representative as possible? Include the locations where you will collect data and a draft of any form you plan to use for data collection.
  • Fake Data Table:  Include a fake data table with 5 rows, each row should be a mock up of the kind of data you hope to collect.
  • Reflection:  Any concerns about the project?  The methods that will be used to collect data?

Phase 5: Pilot Data + Lightning Talk (5 mins) (due 10/31):

Spend about 30 minutes per person collecting pilot data. This is just a small set of preliminary data designed to identify problems and/or refine your data collection protocol.

Lightning Talk (5 mins): Introduce your problem.  Describe you data collection instrument and any challenges faced doing the pilot.  If possible photos of data collection and simple summary statistics of your pilot data.  Finally, conclude if your data collection strategy seems workable or if if needs changes.  If changes are required describe them.

If you are using secondary data you must submit a detailed summary 3-5 pages of the data set(s) you will be using, describe each variable (in words) and provide a summary of its distribution. Note any missing cases and outliers. Fully describe the process used to create the data set.  Lightning talk should summarize the data,

Phase 6: Formal data collection plan (due 11/7):

Based upon your experience collecting pilot data submit a refined (and finalized) data collection protocol. If you will be distributing a web or paper survey be sure to include a copy of the final form. If you will be administering a questionnaire be sure to submit the list of questions. If you will be collecting observations be sure to detail where, when, and exactly what, you will be observing.  Your plan should, at a minimum, describe the:

  1. Population: The population or places to which you hope to generalize your results.
  2. Sample frame: These are the people or places that are eligible to be included in your study
  3. Sample selection strategy: How will you decide who/what/where to include in your study.
  4. Survey Protocol or instruments: Describe the measurements you will take and how you will collect them.
  5. Target sample size: How many people/places to you aim to examine. Based upon you pilot data construct confidence intervals (for quantitative data) based upon your target sample size.

Phase 7: Status Report  (11/14):

By now you should have completed at least half of your data collection. Prepare a 3 slide status report on the data you’ve collected and collection  protocols and any problems (or successes) that your group has experienced. If you overcame problems please share your solutions.

Phase 8: Final Data (due 11/30):

You must submit a table containing all of the data you collected and a brief description of each column in the table.

 Phase 9: Data Analysis Consultation (week of 11/27 and 12/4):

Meet with Seth and Molly in lab to discuss data analysis strategies.

Phase 10: (12/12 and 12/14) Submission.

The final submission includes:

  • A 7 minute presentation in class in which you outline:
    1. Your project aims and significance (approx. 1 minute).
    2. Your research design (approx. 2 minutes).
    3. Your results (approx. 3 minutes).

You pay careful attention to how you use your statistical analysis to make conclusions about your project.  Focus on using your models to learn about your hypothesis/idea.  Plots are always a good way to describe data.  Please use R for you analysis and share all code in the project folder.