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Statistics for Business and Economics: Excel/Minitab Enhanced
Heinz Kohler
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Minitab Preface


"THE FUTURE ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE"–YOGI BERRA

Current business students face a world-wide job market that will demand the most of their abilities. They will face tough decisions in times of extreme uncertainty. Instead of spending all of their hours delving into the intricacies of theoretical mathematics or "number crunching," this generation of business managers will need a solid foundation that will enable them to go to the Internet, pull down relevant information, enter that information into their computers, and know how to interpret the results quickly and accurately. If they are given the statistical tools to make decisions despite uncertainty, they will make sound decisions. So my job here is to develop their statistical reasoning and intuition via the technology that they will use in class and beyond.

Consider this, a business and economics statistics book built from page one around skills, software, and the Internet. Unlike Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, and unlike Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, Henry Ford didn’t invent anything. Henry Ford simply improved the way something was already being done. In the same way, I hope that this book will contribute to the next revolution in the way that Business Statistics is taught--and more importantly, used--by the next generation of graduates.

This is the 21st century--a world of computers and the Internet. According to the Computer Industry Almanac, in late 2000, Americans used 159 million computers, which came to 580 computers per 1,000 people. By 2005, Americans are expected to use 230 million computers! The absolute numbers were equally impressive in Europe, but computer-per-capita growth rates were even higher in China, India, Russia, and other parts of the world. No wonder that 350 million people worldwide regularly used the Internet in late 2000, a number that is expected to reach 800 million by 2005!

I have designed this book to give students skills built around computer software and the Internet and have actually made computers the integral tool used to teach the concepts rather than merely providing an occasional screen image of what students should have gotten if they used computer programs.

CREATIVE, COOL APPLICATIONS

Together with its supplements, the book teaches statistics in the context of literally thousands of examples from the business and economic worlds. These examples illustrate vividly how the careful collection, effective presentation, and proper analysis of numerical information enable decision makers to draw important inferences.

This teaching-by-doing approach provides students with a fine appreciation of the power and applicability of statistical methods. Because the sheer volume of important statistical techniques is mind-boggling, and space and time are limited, the text avoids deriving formulas and presenting extended mathematical proofs. The applications approach seeks to teach sound statistical reasoning in a more limited sense: Students learn which techniques can be used under which circumstances and how the results--properly interpreted--can help them make sound decisions.

Look at chapter 7, for example. MINTAB Example 7.1 gives students specific instructions, step by step, to retrieve data (downloaded from the Internet) about total profit figures for the top 100 multinational companies in 2000, integrate those data into the computer program, and generate meaningful results immediately–which the text confirms to build student confidence. Students learn by doing.

Look at Application 7.3 about the accuracy of National Income Statistics. This surprising information helps students interpret National Income data more judiciously as they apply decision-making tools to sterile formulas.

Statistics for Business and Economics: MINITAB™ Enhanced utilizes the student version of MINITAB, which is included on the student CD-ROM packaged with the text. Accordingly, Chapter 2, Learning About MINITAB, provides a detailed introduction to MINITAB’s statistical analysis tools. Students will refer to this chapter throughout the course and beyond. In addition, Chapters 4-22 feature numerous self-contained MINITAB examples that jointly introduce every major feature of the program. Most end-of-chapter Practice Problems and numerous problems in the supplements provide further training in MINITAB. But note: Even though students will do most of their work with MINITAB, on a few occasions, text tables show the computer's invisible computations in detail. This helps students understand the nature of the procedures involved. It also helps them appreciate how lucky they are that computers now take care of the grinding, tedious paper-and-pencil calculations of old.

USING THE INTERNET

This book differs from the typical statistics text in yet another way. Early in the text, Chapter 3, Finding Existing Data: From Print to the Internet, introduces students to an exciting new way of gathering data. They learn to find masses of data on the World Wide Web, along with ways to import data into software programs. The chapter introduces major U.S government web sites, well over 100 foreign government sites, the websites of all companies on the Year 2000 Fortune 500 list, and many other interesting data sources. Appropriate hyperlinks to all of these appear on the student CD-ROM accompanying the text. Students will refer to Chapter 3 throughout the course and beyond.

A FLEXIBLE APPROACH

As I talk with Business Statistics Instructors, I often hear how their courses vary in their topic sequence. Keeping those comments in mind, I have tried to do two things… First, I wrote each chapter so that it can stand on its own–a modular approach that allows instructors to organize the sequence that best fits their needs. Second, realizing that, ultimately, the text needs its own organization, I have structured the text in a logical progression that I think students will find easy to follow. The Contents in Brief show the text’s 8-part divisions. Part I features a preview of the text and a discussion of its associated software program. Students then learn how to collect data (Part II), before they learn how to describe it (Part III). In Part IV, they learn about probability, so that they can draw meaningful inferences (Parts V and VI). Their studies are then supplemented by turning to other topics favored by economists and business administrators, respectively (Parts VII and VIII).

But we all have limited time, and no one should look upon this text as a novel that must be read in order, from the first page of Chapter 1 to the last page of Chapter 23. Given the book’s modular style, you might instead look upon this text as a treasure-trove of raw material that you can shape to your own liking. Depending on the type of course you have in mind, you can focus your attention on some chapters, while ignoring others. You can change the order in which you assign chapters. You can ignore many sections and subsections within chapters (and some of these sections are even designated as optional). Students can consult skipped material later in different contexts. Instructors, in short, have great flexibility in designing course outlines of their own that are well suited to their personal preferences and, above all, to the needs of their particular students.

CAREFUL PEDAGOGY:

I have paid special attention to helping students learn. Features that help them understand and retain material include:

  • Looking Ahead: A succinct summary at the beginning of each chapter shows students what they can expect to learn. (Tip: Want a more elaborate forecast of things to come? Look at the actual chapter Summary near the chapter's end.)
  • Preview: A self-contained real-life example found near the beginning of each chapter is designed to illustrate the essence of the chapter. These help students see how they might apply chapter principles later.
  • Typical Problem: This "teaser" feature helps you focus on the kinds of questions you can answer with techniques discussed in the chapter.
  • Definition Boxes: These highlight carefully worded definitions of key terms.
  • Caution Boxes: I point out common errors and misunderstandings to help students avoid typical slip-ups.
  • Formula Boxes: These highlight important formulas and define all the symbols used in writing them down.
  • Technical Detail Boxes: As the name suggests, these provide finer detail that students may skip without adverse consequences. Some readers may prefer the detail, so we have included it.
  • Example Problems: Special sections within each chapter apply new material without the help of the computer.
  • MINITAB Examples: Special sections within each chapter that apply new material via the associated computer program.
  • Optional Sections: Major sections of some chapters could be omitted when class is pressed for time, but students can consult them later.
  • Applications: Self-contained stories, usually based on journal articles or major statistical studies, illustrate the use of the chapter's techniques in "the real world." Almost 90 freestanding Applications appear throughout the text.
  • Graphs: These are self-contained features by virtue of carefully worded captions, providing a valuable tool for review.
  • Summary. A review of the chapter's main points appears at the end of each chapter.
  • Key Terms. An end-of-chapter listing of key terms, all of which appear in boldface in the text when they are first introduced.
  • Practice Problems. Some 50 end-of-chapter problems are segregated by text section. (Answers appear on the Student CD-ROM and in the Instructor's Manual.)

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SUPPLEMENTS FOR STUDENTS

The CD-ROM. The CD-ROM is filled with a multitude of helpful materials, including

  • Elaborate solutions (in both EXCEL and MINITAB format) to all 575 odd-numbered end-of-chapter Practice Problems.
  • Data files (MINITAB format) for all nontrivial data sets used in the text and its supplements.
  • Hyperlinks to data sources on the Internet, notably to U.S. government databases, to almost 150 foreign government statistical offices, to all companies on the Year 2000 Fortune 500 list, and more.
  • Student Workbook featuring 360 true-false questions (with answers), 360 multiple-choice questions (with answers), 144 Major Achievement practice problems (with detailed solutions), recognition exercises for all the key terms boldfaced in the text (and listed near the end of each chapter), an alphabetical glossary of all the key terms used in the text, a similar glossary of all symbols used in the text, and a chapter-by-chapter listing of key formulas.
  • The latest Student Edition of the MINITAB software.
  • PowerPoint slides that cover all the essential topics covered in each chapter.

The Web Site. Additional useful material appears on the publisher's web site, which anyone can visit at http://www.harcourtcollege.com/business_stats/kohler. The Web Site also includes:

  • On-line Quizzing and Testing for each chapter of the text, including 240 interactive multiple-choice questions
  • More than two dozen biographical sketches of historical figures who developed the statistical techniques encountered in the text
  • All sorts of hyperlinks to interesting statistics-oriented web sites, notably those run by academic institutions
  • Recommended Readings for each chapter of the text for further study

SUPPLEMENTS FOR INSTRUCTORS

The printed text is associated with two major supplements for instructors: a Test Bank and an Instructor's Kit (containing the Instructor’s Manual and Instructor’s Resource CD-ROM). . have tried to make these very complete and very helpful, and they are the result of many years of teaching, along with numerous comments and ideas from colleagues. I trust that you will find these useful.

The Test Bank. Along with answers and solutions, the Test Bank provides an unduplicated set of

  • 528 True-False Questions, including 240 interactive multiple-choice questions
  • 1,056 Multiple-Choice Questions
  • 364 Practice Problems

The Instructor's Kit: Instructor’s Manual and Instructor’s Resource CD-ROM.

The Instructor's Manual features alternative course outlines for courses of different lengths and provides suggestions for those teaching one-semester courses, two-semester courses, or four-quarter courses.

  • Teaching tips and additional teaching materials for each chapter of the text.
  • Elaborate solutions (in both EXCEL and MINITAB format) to all 575 even-numbered end-of-chapter Practice Problems (elaborate rather than succinct solutions are provided for those instructors who wish to hand out solutions to students).

The Instructor's Resource CD-ROM features

  • WordTM files of the IM
  • WordTM files of the Test Bank
  • PowerPointTM slides

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