Spring 2019 Math 150

Methods in Biostatistics

Math 150, Spring 2019

Jo Hardin
2351 Millikan

Office Hours: 10-noon Tuesday, 1:30-3:30 Thursday, 10-11 Friday, or by appointment

Mentor: Andrew Brown, 8-10pm Sunday & 6-8pm Tuesday, 2393 Millikan

Text: Practicing Statistics, Kuiper & Sklar (CD information (datasets and R code) on Sakai.)

homework assignments

Important Dates:

  •  3/13/19 (Wednesday) Midterm
  •  5/1/19 Research Project due  (drafts due earlier)
  •  5/15/19 Final Exam – 2pm



  • Linear Regression
  • Botox & Cards
  • Case Control (smoking data)
  • Log Reg tests & association (burn data)
  • Interaction & multicolinearity (HERS data)
  • Stepwise logistic regression (HERS data)
  • ROC curves (and R)


  • Homework will be assigned from the text with some additional problems. One homework grade will be dropped. Homework will be done using the statistical software package R. All homework must be done in R markdown compiled to pdf.  Non-homework activities (e.g., from the text) will be collected and added to your participation grade.


  • There will be one research project in the class based on the survival analysis material. You will be able to work in pairs or alone.


  • R will be used for homework assignments.
  • You will be using R on the Pomona server: https://rstudio.campus.pomona.edu/ (All Pomona students will be able to log in immediately. Non-Pomona students need to go to ITS at Pomona to get Pomona login information.)
  • If you want to use R on your own machine, you may. Please make sure all components are updated:


  • This course focuses on being an educated consumer of medical literature (as well as providing statistical preparation for those of you who want to become medical doctors). We will start many class periods with a discussion on an article (typically from the newspaper) describing a medical study or a statistical issue related to the medical community. You are expected to have read the article, and you should be prepared to discuss what you read. You should also be prepared to participate daily in classroom discussions about the course material.  (No computer use in class.)

Course Goals:

  • to be able to critically evaluate the medical literature with respect to design, analysis, and interpretation of results.
  • to understand the role of inherent variability and keep it in perspective when inferring results to a population.
  • to critically evaluate medical results given in the mainstream media.
  • to read published studies with skepticism. Some people (in all fields!) wrongly believe that all studies published in a peer reviewed publication must be 100% accurate and/or well-designed studies. In this course, you will learn the tools to recognize, interpret, and critique statistical results in the medical literature.

Academic Honesty:

  • Pomona College is an academic community, all of whose members are expected to abide by ethical standards both in their conduct and in their exercise of responsibilities toward other members of the community. The college expects students to understand and adhere to basic standards of honesty and academic integrity. These standards include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In projects and assignments prepared independently, students never represent the ideas or the language of others as their own.
    • Students do not destroy or alter either the work of other students or the educational resources and materials of the College.
    • Students neither give nor receive assistance in examinations.
    • Students do not take unfair advantage of fellow students by representing work completed for one course as original work for another or by deliberately disregarding course rules and regulations.
    • In laboratory or research projects involving the collection of data, students accurately report data observed and do not alter these data for any reason.


  • Please feel free to stop by, email, or call if you have any questions about or difficulty with the material, the computing, the projects, or the course. Come see me as soon as possible if you find yourself struggling. The material will build on itself, so it will be much easier to catch up if the concepts get clarified earlier rather than later. Enjoy!


  • 25% Homework
  • 20% Midterm
  • 20% Survival Analysis Research Project
  • 25% Final
  • 10% Class Participation