Each Community Spotlight features an outstanding group, partner, resource, or member of our community.

Passion-Driven Statistics

By Lisa Dierker (ldierker "at" wesleyan "dot" edu)


Module Description:

This week’s resource is the Passion Driven Statistics e-book. The foreword from the book is copied below to provide a basic introduction to the text:

“Statistical data analysis is central to research in the natural and social sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It is essential for scientific findings to be regarded as meaningful. In many ways, statistics is the shared language of the sciences. A solid understanding of how statistical methods are employed and reported is essential for communication both within and across disciplines.

This Passion-Driven Statistics e-book includes a step-by-step curriculum for answering questions with data. It is designed for students at all levels of experience, including complete beginners. You will use existing data to pose research questions, and you will learn a statistical software platform to answer those questions by turning raw data into useful information.

Passion-Driven Statistics “flips” the traditional course format. Rather than attending class sessions in order to listen to lectures, you will engage with online lectures as homework and use class time to work on a research project of your own design.

The e-book is broken into 15 chapters, each of which will provide a brief overview of what you have learned, a summary of the upcoming lesson, links to the video lessons, and a corresponding project assignment.”

The e-book is presented in .pdf format for ease of use across platforms. It can also be customized by downloading and editing the .iba file using the free “iBook Author” software.


Teaching Setting:

The book is designed to work in a variety of settings (e.g., online course, camps, traditional classrooms) and teachers can customize the book for their specific setting and platform of choice, including R, Python, SAS, SPSS, and STATA. No experience with statistics is necessary for students to use this book. In addition to the many introductory statistics college courses that use the curriculum, it has also been used in high school data camps and as a segue for high schoolers entering their college freshman year.



Dierker, L. (2019). Passion-Driven Statistics. Passion-driven Statistics, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4MQ9K


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Related Materials and Opportunities:

The Passion Driven Statistics website has many additional materials that instructors will find helpful, including:

  • Content videos that explain textbook topics conceptually using an example and work through an applied example with real data and corresponding data analysis software (e.g., R content videos)
  • Testimonials from instructors who have adopted the curriculum and students in their classes
  • Publications that report the major research findings of the Passion Driven Statistics project

Passion Driven Statistics partnered with QUBES in Fall 2018 to run a Faculty Mentoring Network entitled “Amplifying data analytic opportunities in your CURE”.  Participants in this FMN planned and conducted quantitative analyses using large data sets and research questions of their choosing. Participants received hands-on mentorship and consultation in support of making meaningful progress in the analysis and interpretation of data sets to support individual classroom projects and/or personal research goals. On-line support during the FMN was followed by opportunities to attend in-person faculty workshops.

Passion Driven Statistics will be running another FMN with QUBES in Fall 2019! If you are interested in participating, subscribe to the QUBES newsletter to receive updates later this summer about when applications open.

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Community Spotlight: Issue 41