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Mathematics and Statistics Group

PDM9L4/5: Data Skills

The main aim of the Data Skills course is to build confidence in handling numbers and formulae in either a statistical or mathematical context.
The courses consist of a series of workshops where students study in groups, with the help of a tutor. The aim is to provide an encouraging and supportive environment in which to come to grips with key skills, important in a range of disciplines - for example, Accountancy, Applied Social Science, Biology, Business Studies, Economics, Finance, Management and Psychology.
There will be four main paths through the modules being offered. Which path is followed will depend on a student's subject of study and mathematical background.

Path 1 - Basic Ideas in Statistics
Three basic skills will be developed: presenting data visually, calculating numerical measures to characterise the distribution of data, and interpreting the visual plots and numerical measures.
Path 2 - Using Statistics in Solving Practical Problems
Taking someone else's data set and analysing it is a very different problem from organising your own data collection to answer the sort of questions you want to! This requires additional skills to cover the design of a survey or an experiment, and then use this data to test hypotheses and make predictions.
Path 3 - Key Mathematical Skills
For some students difficulties arise in contexts other than Statistics. For example, in Economics and the Natural Sciences the concern is often with formulae, their interpretation and evaluation. Specific skills such as logarithms also cause problems. The Worksheets tackle such difficulties head on.
Path 4 - Developing Mathematical Skills
There is still a long way to go between understanding basic mathematical ideas and being able to follow mathematical arguments in textbooks or even to use mathematical methods yourself. In particular, skills in using Calculus are essential in many areas of study. Path 4 is aimed to help you along the way.

In the course of your degree you may take a maximum of two of these "paths". The first one you take will be designated PDM9L4. If you go on to take another then it will be designated PDM9L5.

The Programme

Workshop Based: All four paths are available in the Autumn and Spring semesters. Students attend two hours of workshops a week plus, for the statistics paths, three additional computer-based workshops towards the end of semester.
Online: The statistics paths (paths 1 and 2) are available online in the Autumn and Spring semesters and over the summer as part of the Summer Academic Programme.


This will be entirely by coursework. Successful completion of the first path chosen will be awarded a half credit in PDM9L4. Successful completion of a second path further to, or complementary to, the first path will be awarded a half credit in PDM9L5. At most two paths can be taken. Successful completion of Path 4 and Mathematics module MAT911 will be considered for entry into Mathematics MAT912.


Summer Academic Programme: email

Spring/Autumn: on completion of online registration for your "core" modules an additional option will appear.

Please note that these courses are not suitable for students who have Higher or A level Mathematics, or equivalent.

Further information can be obtained from:

Data Skills Secretary
Computing Science & Mathematics
4B80 Cottrell Building
University of Stirling
Telephone 01786 467421
or email