Data Analysis and Statistical Inference

This course introduces you to the discipline of statistics as a science of understanding and analyzing data. You will learn how to effectively make use of data in the face of uncertainty: how to collect data, how to analyze data, and how to use data to make inferences and conclusions about real world phenomena.

About The Course

The goals of this course are as follows:
  1. Recognize the importance of data collection, identify limitations in data collection methods, and determine how they affect the scope of inference.
  2. Use statistical software (R) to summarize data numerically and visually, and to perform data analysis.
  3. Have a conceptual understanding of the unified nature of statistical inference.
  4. Apply estimation and testing methods (confidence intervals and hypothesis tests) to analyze single variables and the relationship between two variables in order to understand natural phenomena and make data-based decisions.
  5. Model and investigate relationships between two or more variables within a regression framework.
  6. Interpret results correctly, effectively, and in context without relying on statistical jargon.
  7. Critique data-based claims and evaluate data-based decisions.
  8. Complete a research project that employs simple statistical inference and modeling techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get a Certificate after completing this class?
Yes, if you successfully complete the class according to the grading policy.

Is this course free?
Yes! You can take this course for free, and you can earn a certificate for free.

However there is a charge if you would like a verified certificate. You can read more about the verified certificate here, and decide if this is something you are interested in. In addition, if you would like a Specialization Certificate in Reasoning, Data Analysis and Writing, you will need a verified certificate. You can read more about the Specialization here.

Do I need prior programming knowledge to take this course? 
No programming background is required. Everything you need to know will be covered in the course. 

What resources will I need for this class?
You will need a stable internet connection in order to watch the videos, access the suggested readings, take the quizzes and tests. To complete the labs and the capstone project, you will need to run R (a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics) and RStudio (an integrated development environment that serves as a user interface for R).

Alternatively, you will have the option of completing the labs (though not the project) on, an online interactive learning platform. The platform hosts interactive versions of the R labs used in this course, and it provides you with hints and instant feedback that should facilitate the learning process. The hints are like having a tutor with you, and the instant feedback helps avoid much of the frustration associated with learning a new programming language and deciphering cryptic error messages.

Can R/RStudio run on any system? 
R is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Ubuntu.  You can download R at, and RStudio at Once the course begins we will post videos on installing and getting started with R and RStudio.

Do I have to learn R to complete this course?
While you can navigate through some of the course material without using R, you will need R for the labs and the capstone project to be eligible for a Certificate with Distinction.

Can R run on smartphone or a tablet? 
It is possible to run R on a smartphone or a tablet (see here), but this will require access to a working install of RStudio server, which we will not be providing or supporting for this course. Instructions for installing RStudio server are available at the RStudio website here. 

Recommended Background

Basic math, no programming experience required. A genuine interest in data analysis is a plus!