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Packing Pickles: Picking and Performing a Statistical Test


Author(s)

Christopher J. Cheng
Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
North Carolina State University
Clinton Stevenson
Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
North Carolina State University
cdsteve3@ncsu.edu

Abstract

Based on a true story, this case study was created to teach students how to perform statistical tests and determine whether a significant difference exists between two sets of data. Students are faced with the task of assisting Jeff, the manager of a pickle processing plant, who must figure out why there is a larger-than-expected discrepancy between raw materials and final product. Students are given average sample jar weights from the production line and must come up with a suitable hypothesis and appropriate statistical test. While specifically developed for use in a college-level course on quality control in food science, the case has broader applicability for any course that teaches statistical hypothesis testing (e.g., introductory statistics, research experimental design, scientific inquiry, etc.).


Objectives

  • Perform statistical two-sample t tests.
  • Determine what situations warrant statistical testing.

Keywords

Statistics; quality control; hypothesis testing; t test; statistical test; statistical significance; experimental design; data analysis; null hypothesis; food industry; pickles

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Interrupted

Language

English

Subject Headings

Statistics  |   Food Science / Technology  |  


Date Posted

12/22/2014

Teaching Notes

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Supplemental Materials

The following supplemental materials may be used with this case study:

  Teacher Guide: Math and Statistics hhmi/
  Spreadsheet Tutorial 4: t-Test hhmi/

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

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