From Data to Science: An Introduction to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Project Summary

STEM education often presents a very sanitized version of the scientific enterprise. To some extent, this is necessary, but overemphasizing neat-and-tidy results and scripted protocol assignments poses the risk of failing to adequately prepare students for the real-world mess of transforming experimental data into meaningful results. The fundamental aim of this project was to guide students in processing large real-world datasets far beyond their academic comfort zone so as to give them a more realistic understanding of how science works.

Themes and Categories
Paul Bendich

Graduate students: Jameson Clarke and Rick Gawne

Faculty instructor: Fred Nijout

Focus: Questions that can be asked and answered using large public health databases

Skills gained: (I) Accessing and using NHANES, (II) Statistical analyses using JMP

Results: Presentations describing findings and pitfalls of large data exploration

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