Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Introduction to Statistics

PSY317L is the introductory statistics and programming course for undergraduates.

Understanding statistics and data is a fundamental skill for everybody. Being able to draw conclusions from data and gain understanding and insights into the world is not just the basis of all sciences including psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, but also in business, social science, public policy research, sports, etc. Further, we use data and statistics in our everyday lives – we continuously make inferences about what is likely or unlikely to occur, what is fact versus fiction, and how to behave based on our observations and experiences. In this course, we will learn how to think critically about how we acquire knowledge and gain insight and confidence in what is true through analyzing data.

Specifically, we will cover fundamental topics such as frequency distributions, central tendency, variability, probability, hypothesis testing, t-tests (for independent and paired samples), effect sizes, statistical power, estimation using confidence intervals, correlation, regression, non-parametric statistics, linear regression, and the basics of randomization tests.

This course will also highly emphasize learning how to use the statistical programming language R in conjunction with RStudio. You will learn the basics of coding and how to to manage, analyze, visualize and communicate data programmatically.

No previous experience with statistics or programming is expected to succeed in this class.

This class is an On-Demand course. Each week you will be required to complete a module but you may work at your own pace during the week. Each module will contain the following:

  • Pre-recorded lecture segments – these alternate between background lectures on statistical theory, worked examples and coding segments.
  • Readings - selected readings are set to accompany the video lectures. These provide support for each component of the course: the statistical theory, the worked examples and coding.
  • Quizzes – Each module will include approximately 15 quiz questions (except the first module, and redo quizzes). The total points available per module will be 15. Quizzes are not timed but need to be completed each week. Practice quizzes for each module are also available.
  • Discussion – Students are encouraged to attend the virtual office hours each week and to use the Chatter discussion board.

The textbook for the course is a detailed guide to introductory statistics and R programming. It is available here: 

Curley JP & Milewski TM, 2020, PSY317L & PSY120R Textbook, https://jalapic.github.io/introstats/ 

· This course can be used to count towards the Mathematics Core curriculum requirements.

· This course may count towards the quantitative reasoning flag requirement.


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  • Department of Psychology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    SEA 4.208
    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043
    512-471-1157