Previous Final Projects

  1. Battling the Binge: A survey of eating disorders at Colgate, with results compared to national trends.
  2. Breaking the Bubble: A survey of Colgate students to learn what sources they use to keep up with national and international news, and how informed they feel about issues beyond the campus. The survey had to be designed carefully in order that the results were numeric and hence could be analyzed statistically.
  3. Stereotypes at Colgate -- a Collective Statistical Study: Colgate students were presented with yearbook descriptions of high school students and asked to guess which were members of different minority groups. But the methods used could not have produced much useful information.
  4. National Hockey League Money and Performance: Relating several ways of measuring quality of players and teams (on the basis of game statistics) and their associations with pay levels. Sports data is relatively easy (though not trivial) to obtain, but since "quality" is subjective in this context, a project like this must include clear arguments to establish why the particular statistics used here were particularly good measurements of "quality".
  5. Correlations between Achievement Orientation and Starter vs. Non-Starter Athletes: Analysis of a psychological survey to find differences between the motivation and mind-set of women soccer and field hockey players who start a game and those who do not. There is plenty of opportunity in this project to comment on the difference between correlation and causation and how things might have been done differently -- but that should be a big part of every project, and very few do it well.
  6. A Statistical Look at Colgate's E-mail System: The computer center kindly provided numbers of e-mail messages sent during various time periods, and these were presented in the form of bar charts. Limited time for data gathering made generalizations difficult.
  7. The Chance of Getting Hurt Tomorrow: Analysis of data on football injuries sustained while playing on grass vs. artificial turf.
  8. The Effects on the Three-Point Rule Changes (1994-95 season) on the Top Players in the NBA: Deciding whether rule changes intended to make more 3-point goals in basketball easier were effective in allowing more scoring. Though the project was done in '97, data was available only for the top scorers (and was missing for some seasons even in these cases), so comparisons were difficult.
  9. AIDS and Zidovudine: Does Zidovudine Slow the Progression of AIDS? The source of the data was a table in an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. The authors of that article did their own statistical study, using methods beyond the scope of our course, but the author of this project used methods we had. She was limited by the fact that the table contained only a summary of the experimental data.
  10. The Role of Anxiety, Depression, Hostility and Stress in Type A Versus Type B Personality and Vulnerablility to Coronary Heart Disease: Reporting on a psychology project which used methods not thoroughly covered in our course (ANOVA). It is tempting, in reporting on projects done in other departments, to focus on the subject matter of that department. But the final project grade is based on the presentation of the statistics: After making sure that the experiment is clearly explained to someone not specializing in that area, the project should give a thorough explanation of (1) the choice of which statistics to compute, (2) the method used to compute them, if it is not covered in our class, and (3) the conclusions drawn from them. This should not be a journal article in the other field, but a project on statistics.
  11. Is the National Crime Rate Decreasing?: Department of Justice figures, obtained from the Internet, on violent crime suggest that fewer crimes per person are occurring. The Internet data were only totals, however, so many questions (e.g., are burglaries decreasing in affluent neighborhoods?) had to be left unstudied.
  12. Media, China and Public Opinion: A survey of students to tell whether their responses to various statements about China were influenced (positively or negatively) by having taken courses on China or by getting all their information on China from the mass media. Limited sample size, especially of students who had taken courses on China, proved to be a problem.
  13. Relationship of Water Nutrients and Zooplankton to Pond Phytoplankton in Central New York: Reporting results on an ecology project. See "The Role of Anxiety, ..." above.
  14. Stroop Interference While Evaluating Same or Different Ink Colors of Words and Shapes: Students were shown flash cards with the same word or different words written in the same color or different colors and asked if they were the same or different word; or the word RED written in green, etc., and asked to read the word. Differences in comprehension/reaction times were analyzed. Some of the analysis of the data was done with methods within the scope of our course, while some required ANOVA. See "The Role of Anxiety, ..." above.
  15. 1997 Baseball Statistics versus 1997 Baseball Salaries: Are the top players overpaid? Are they paid in proportion to their production? Data was available on the Internet only for top players, so the data set was small and comparisons to "journeymen" could not made.
  16. A Statistical Glance at U.S. News and World Report's 1998 College Rankings: What is the Difference Between a National University and a Liberal Arts College Education?: Study of the data that goes into the U.S. News rankings (some of which is available only in Peterson's Guide). As the authors pointed out, many factors that go into choice of college or university could not be quantified and hence could not be analyzed statistically.
  17. Stats Regression Project: Determining What Makes an NBA Team Win: Stats from a pro basketball handbook.
  18. A Study of Marijuana and Cigarette Use on "The Hill" at Colgate: Presentation in several forms of data from a survey, to determine levels of use in the residence halls, addictiveness, and whether nicotine is a "gateway drug" for marijuana. Very deep matters for a 5-question survey on confidential matters, so the results were very questionable; but since they were numeric, they were easily accessible to statistical analysis. Here is a great opportunity for comment on "what I would have done differently if ..."
  19. A Test for Correlation Between Country Position and Per Capita Income in the Developing Nations of the World: Does distance from the Equator (or the resulting climate) affect per capita income? Data from an atlas. But how is distance from the equator measured for a large country?
  20. Is There a Home Field Advantage in the World Series?: Comparing wins versus losses at home and on the road in World Series games. Should pure numbers have been used? Might it be possible to include data on the eventual winner, or the teams' records before the series? If so, how?
  21. Does a Background or Interest in Art and Art History Allow for a More Accurate Assessment of the Value of a Painting?: Surveying students: "How much would you pay for this painting [done by a master], or for this painting [in a similar style, done by the author of the project]?"



Revised January 5, 2000. Questions to dlantz@mail.colgate.edu
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