Approved by University Studies Sub-committee.  A2C2 action pending.

University Studies Course Approval Proposal

Unity and Diversity – Contemporary Citizenship


The Department of Mathematics and Statistics proposes the following course for inclusion in University Studies, Unity and Diversity, Contemporary Citizenship at Winona State University. This was approved by the full department on Thursday, January 4, 2001.

Course: Design of Samples and Surveys (STAT 350) 3 s.h.

Catalog Description: Practical problems of surveys. Design of optimal surveys. Questionnaire design. Practical problems of sampling. Design of optimal sampling procedures. Adapting standard statistical techniques to specialized sampling design. This is a University Studies course satisfying requirements in Contemporary Citizenship. Prerequisites: An introductory statistics course (preferably STAT 210) and MATH 120. Offered Fall Semesters.

This is an existing course, previously approved by A2C2.

Department Contact Person for this course:

Carol J. Blumberg; email cblumberg@winona.edu


General discussion of each objective in Contemporary Citizenship as it relates to learning activities in STAT 350

a. use critical thinking to analyze contemporary issues

In class, students are expected to critically analyze for flaws various sampling designs and surveys that have been used in the real world. These sampling designs and surveys range from abysmal to extremely well done. The article critique (as its name implies) requires students to critically analyze an article that describes a research study done in the area of sampling or survey research. Further, all examinations and most of the homework assignments have places where the students must do calculations and then critically analyze the results and interpret them in real-world terms.


b. demonstrate effective oral and/or written communication of ideas, informed opinions, and/or values

The development of a questionnaire is at least 20% of the course grade. Part of the requirements for the questionnaire is that it be in easy-to-follow and correct English. The article critiques that the students write usually run from two to four pages and, again, easy-to-follow and correct English is expected. Further, a significant portion of the final examination or a term project (depending on the instructor) is the development of a well-written sampling plan. Although this plan includes many technical terms, it is still basically a written communication assignment. Hence, written communication is expected in at least 50% of the learning activities done in this course.


c. identify, find, and use tools of information science related to contemporary issues

Journals in the Library or full-text databases on the internet must be used by the students to select the articles that they want to critique. Further, when developing their questionnaires students are expected to look at several books on reserve in the Library that deal in detail with various aspects of questionnaire design. Additionally, when developing their sampling plans, students are expected to use the internet or Census data books at the Library so that they can build in the correct number of people in certain cities, townships, counties, etc. into their sampling plan.


d. demonstrate the ability to work effectively independently and/or in collaborative problem-solving groups

The students are strongly encouraged to work collaboratively on the questionnaire design project and in developing their sampling plans. In fact, it is the rare exception where a student does not participate in a group on these assignments. Students are required to work independently on some examinations.


f. participate actively (e.g., class discussion, volunteerism, etc.) in issues significant to citizenship in contemporary society

It is expected that all students participate in the classroom discussions of the issues relating to examples of real surveys by taking turns discussing various things that are correctly and incorrectly done on these surveys. Further, they are expected to participate in the classroom discussions of designing a good survey. Finally, there is class time devoted to having students in class orally critique the questionnaires that each group is developing. All students are expected to contribute to these discussions