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Project 2: Statistics and the Media
MAS360 2022–23
THE TASK
You are to give a presentation that is interesting, both from a statistical and general perspective,
on a matter where statistical ideas are critical.
You will take as your starting point a recent (2020–2022) report in the print, broadcast
or internet-based mass media1 that reports the findings of academic research (published as
an article in an academic journal, such as Nature, Science, The Lancet, BMJ, etc) in which
statistical interpretation played a key role. Both elements should feature in the presentation.
The topic MUST be related to sustainability —in a broad sense.
Your key objective is to explain the topic and the findings to your audience.
You should outline the statistical methods employed by the academic author(s), offering care-
ful explanation of your understanding of the key aspects of the theory and implementation
of any methodology not taught in core modules at Levels One and Two (i.e. those you’ve
learned at Level Three or those you had to look up).
You will give the presentation with the aid of slides presented via a computer. The presenta-
tion, before questions, should be at least eight minutes and be an absolute maximum of ten
minutes: nine minutes is ideal. You should expect to take questions at the end, and you may
be asked for clarification during the presentation.
FURTHER GUIDANCE
In choosing your topic, you should expect to spend a bit of time on some inappropriate topics
before finding something that is really suitable. If you stick to the first thing that you find, it may
not have sufficient statistical interest and you will then struggle to prepare a suitable talk.
You are not necessarily looking for a media report in which the original academic article has
been misrepresented. What you want is a topic where key aspects are underpinned by statistical
arguments that you have been able to scrutinise in their original form. You may discover the original
results were misrepresented in the popular media, or that the original academic author wasn’t
very convincing, or that a good job has been done all round resulting in a valuable publicising of
the original research. Thus, your review should not be critical for the sake of it. It is fine to say
complimentary things about aspects of the media reporting if that is appropriate.
Presentations will be given in Week 12. Most students will present in person, but there will be
special arrangements for those who cannot attend for valid reasons. Unless this is through illness
etc. (in which case usual extenuating circumstances procedures apply), we anticipate that you
will participate virtually at the scheduled time. That is, you will either present files stored within
Blackboard or share a screen with you running the presentation on your own computer. In either
case, we require that you also display a live image of you giving the presentation. This is easily
handled directly within Blackboard Collaborate, but can be achieved externally also. You will
need to use a webcam (in some cases a phone can be used). If anyone anticipates difficulty with
the technical aspects, you need to contact us immediately so that we can identify solutions. We
will set up a Blackboard Collaborate session for you to practice/check beforehand.
1Based on previous years, you should be wary of using the Daily Mail online
2 MAS360. P2 Statistics and the media
WHAT WILL BE ASSESSED?
This project carries the same weight as projects 1 and 3; half that of project 4. There are many
facets here that will play a part in the overall assessment.
Your presentation will be judged both on delivery (the slides themselves and on the effectiveness
of the talk you give) and on the content (its correctness, its appropriateness and its interest).
SUBMISSIONS
If your presentation is a pdf file name it P2-SurnameForename.pdf. If it is a powerpoint file
(ppt or pptx), name it P2-SurnameForename.ppt or P2-SurnameForename.pptx as appropriate.
Submit the file to Blackboard Turnitin assignments by 23:00 on Sunday 11 December.
The exact timetable for the presentations will be announced later but, as already indicated,
they will take place on Monday 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December, probably
between 9am and 5pm. Nearer the time we will ask about any clashes with other University
commitments.