10th International
Conference on
Teaching Statistics
8 – 13 July 2018
Kyoto, Japan
Contributed paper list

Contributed Paper C184


What comes first when teaching Statistics: theory or application?


Don McNeil (Thailand)
Apiradee Lim (Thailand)
Nootchanath Kongchouy (Thailand)


Don McNeil (Thailand)


When teaching Statistics to students majoring in other disciplines, common practice based on standard textbooks starts with theory and methods for a topic (such as multivariate analysis) and then illustrates concepts with examples using either real or made-up data. This approach may be appropriate for students with a good mathematical background, but not necessarily for those majoring in subject-matter disciplines. In a class of 24 part-time MBA students all of whom ran small businesses and attended classes at weekends, we created a questionnaire taken from the "Talent Myth" article in Malcolm Gladwell's book "What the Dog Saw" to survey local people and applied factor analysis and regression modelling to the data collected. Compared to classes where the textbook approach was used, attendance increased substantially.