Introduction

Statistical inference and modeling are indispensable for analyzing data affected by chance, and thus essential for data scientists. In this course, you will learn these key concepts through a motivating case study on election forecasting. 

This course will show you how inference and modeling can be applied to develop the statistical approaches that make polls an effective tool and we'll show you how to do this using R. You will learn concepts necessary to define estimates and margins of errors and learn how you can use these to make predictions relatively well and also provide an estimate of the precision of your forecast. 

Once you learn this you will be able to understand two concepts that are ubiquitous in data science: confidence intervals, and p-values. 

Finally, to understand statements about the probability of a candidate winning, you will learn about Bayesian modeling. At the end of the course, we will put it all together to recreate a simplified version of an election forecast model and apply it to 2016 election.

HarvardX has partnered with DataCamp for all assignments. This allows students to program directly in a browser-based interface. You will not need to download any special software, but an up-to-date browser is recommended.

Note that this course builds upon probability, the previous course in this series.

What you'll learn:

  • The concepts necessary to define estimates and margins of errors of populations, parameters, estimates and standard errors in order to make predictions about data
  • How to use models to aggregate data from different sources
  • The very basics of Bayesian statistics and predictive modeling

This course is part of the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate program:

Meet The Faculty

Rafael Irizarry

Rafael Irizarry

Professor of Biostatistics, T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Rafael Irizarry is a Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Professor of Biostatistics and Computational Biology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. For the past 15 years, Dr. Irizarry’s research has focused on the analysis of genomics data. During this time, he has also has taught several classes, all related to applied statistics. Dr. Irizarry is one of the founders of the Bioconductor Project, an open source and open development software project for the analysis of genomic data. His publications related to these topics have been highly cited and his software implementations widely downloaded.

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