A Brief Introduction to the Gaussian Distribution, Sample Statistics, and the Student's t Statistic©
Scott Van Bramer
Department of Chemistry
Widener University
Chester, PA 19013
United States
mail to: svanbram@science.widener.edu

Statistics is an important part of the chemistry curriculum and small sample statistics are critical to interpreting experimental results. Most students, however, have a very poor understanding of how small data sets behave and how statistical tests are used with small data sets. This set of Mathcad documents is designed to develop students understanding of normal distributions, small sample sets, and student's t statistic. Gaussian.mcd allows students to explore the area under a Gaussian distribution to understand one and two sided distributions. Sample_statistic.mcd allows students to observe how the average and standard deviation depends upon the number of samples taken from a normal population. They also explore how robust these variables are for a small number of samples. Students_t_statistic.mcd then goes on to show the importance of using Student's t with small sample sets. The documents are suited to use in physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, or instrumental analysis. They require Mathcad 12 or latter and expect students to have minimal experience using Mathcad. If students are proficient with Mathcad, the instructor may increase the degree of interaction by removing some equations or graphs.
Editor's Commentary
Audiences: Upper-Division Undergraduate
Pedagogies: Computer-Based Learning
Domains: Analytical Chemistry, Laboratory Instruction, Physical Chemistry
Topics: Chemometrics, Mathematics / Symbolic Mathematics, Statistical Mechanics
File NameDescriptionSoftware TypeSoftware Version
StatisticsCollection.zip JCE Archive of Mathcad Computational Documents
StatisticsCollectionsPDF.zip Archive of Read-Only Documents
JCE JCE Subscribers only: name and password or institutional IP number access required.
Van Bramer, S. J. Chem. Educ. 2007, 84, 1231
Comments to: Scott Van Bramer at svanbram@science.widener.edu
©Copyright 2007 Journal of Chemical Education