Students gain a better understanding of the statistical investigative process when they initiate, design and undertake entire investigations of their own. In the first instance, this is best undertaken in groups.
A statistical investigation involves:
- choosing a context, and then the specific aspects that interest each group
- identifying the variables and the subjects of the investigation
- planning and carrying out the procedures for data collection to obtain random, fair and representative data
- exploring, summarising and representing the data
- analysing, making inferences based on the data, and preparing a report.
Depending on how familiar you or your class are with conducting statistical investigations, you might choose to:
model an investigation
This is a highly structured approach that provides students with an example of the features and purpose of the steps involved.
provide a task that is a semi-structured investigation
The basic outline of the investigation is determined by the task but students are required to make some choices relevant to the context.
- allow students to initiate, design and undertake investigations that interest them.
Examples of student data investigations can be found in the TIMES module, Data Investigation and Interpretation 10.
Modelling statistical investigations
Model the steps of a statistical investigation by using a highly structured approach.
Semi-structured statistical investigations
Using semi-structured tasks can scaffold the development of students unfamiliar with the statistical investigative process.
Undertaking statistical investigations
Students gain a better understanding of the statistical investigative process and are more engaged when they undertake investigations of their own.