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Lesson 1: Obtaining Data


1. Methods of Data Collection

2. Planning and Conducting Surveys
3. Planning and Conducting Experiments. Introduction to Design of Experiments.

The use of statistical methods in manufacturing and in many areas of production involves
the gathering of information or scientific data. Data gathering is nothing new, it has been done
over a thousand years; the same process is followed, that is, collected, summarized, reported,
and stored for perusal. However, collection of scientific information and inferential statistics have
profound distinction. Inferential statistics has received rightful attention in recent decades.

Key Statistical Concepts

A Population is the group of all items of interest to a statistics practitioner. It is frequently

very large and may, in fact, be definitely large. Population does not necessarily refer to a group.
It may refer to, for instance:
a) Population of ball bearings produced at a large plant;
b) Population consists of Filipinos who voted for presidential candidate A or candidate B;
c) Population of interest consists of the 10,000 students on campus.

A Sample is a set of data drawn from the studied population. A descriptive measure of a
sample is called a statistic. Statistic is used to make inferences about parameters.

The statistic we would compute is the mean number of soft drinks consumed last week
by the 500 students in the sample. We would the us the sample mean to infer the value of the
population mean, which is the parameter of interest in this problem.

A Statistical Inference is the process of making an estimate, prediction, or decision about a

population based on sample data.

Populations are almost always very large, hence investigating each number of the population
would be impractical and expensive. It is far easier and cheaper to take a sample from the
population of interest and draw conclusions or make estimates about the population on the basis
of information provided by the sample.
However, such conclusions and estimated are not always going to be correct. For this reason,
we build into statistical inference as a measure of reliability. There are two measures involved:
the confidence level and the significance level.
The confidence level is the proportion of times that an estimating procedure will b correct.
When the purpose of the statistical inference is to draw a conclusion about a population, the
significance level measures how frequently the conclusion will be wrong.

Obtaining Data

Method of Data Collection:

Data are observed values of variables, i.e., we defined a variable or variables that are of
interest to us and then proceed to collect observations of these variables.

1. Direct Observation
This is the simplest method of obtaining data. Data gathered in this way are said to be
observational. Observational study has many drawbacks. One of the most critical is that it is
difficult to produce useful information in this way. The one advantage of direct observation is that
it is relatively inexpensive.

2. Experiments

Galvez Handout M233-Lesson 1 Academic Year 2019-2020


A more expensive but better way to produce data is through experiments. Data produced
in this manner is called experimental. The sample drawn from the population is divided into two
groups – the controlled and uncontrolled groups.

3. Survey
Survey is one of the most familiar methods of collecting data. This method solicits
information from people concerning such things as their income, family size, and opinions on
various issues. An important aspect of survey is the response rate which is the proportion of all
people who were selected who complete the survey. Low response rate can destroy the validity
of any conclusion resulting from the statistical analysis. Types of survey are: (1) personal
interview; (2) telephone survey; and, (3) questionnaire design.

Planning and Conducting Survey:

Observing a system or process while it is in operation is an important part of the learning

process, and is an integral part of understanding and learning about how systems and processes
work. But, you cannot observe a lot just by watching. To understand what happens to a lot just
by watching. To understand what happens to a process you have to do more than just watch; you
actually have to change the factors to understand the cause-and-effect relationships. This
requires deliberately changing the input variables to the system and observe the changes in the
system output. This process is called experiment.
Experimentation plays an important role in technology commercialization and product
realization activities, which consists of new product design and formulation, manufacturing
process development, and process improvement. There are also applications in a non-
manufacturing or non-product development settings, such as marketing, service operations, and
general business operations. In general, experiments are used to study the performance of
processes and systems. The process or system can be represented by the model shown.

x1 x2 xp
z1 z2 Zq

We usually visualize the process as a combination of operations, machines, methods, people,

and other resources that transforms some input (often a material) into an output that has one or
more observable response variable. The objectives of the experiment may include the following:
1. Determining which variables are influential on the response;
2. Determining where to set the influential x’s so that y is almost always near the desired
nominal values;
3. Determining where to set the influential x’s so that variability in y is small;
4. Determining where to set the influential x’s so that the effects of the uncontrollable
variables z1, z2, …, zq are minimized.

Strategy of Experimentation

1. Best-Guess Approach
This approach is selecting an arbitrary combination of factors, test them and see what
happens. This would be continued almost indefinitely, switching the levels of one or two (or
perhaps several) factors for the next test, based on the outcome of the current test. Best-guess
approach is frequently used in practice by engineers and scientists. It often works reasonably well,
because the experimental often have a great deal of technical or theoretical knowledge of the
system they are studying, as well as considerable practical experience.
Disadvantages are:
a) The process could continue for a long time without any guarantee of success;
b) If an acceptable result is obtained from the initial guess, the experimenter could be
tempted to stop, although there is no guarantee that the best solution has been found.

2. One-Facto-at-a-time (OFAT) Approach

This approach consists of selecting a starting point, or baseline set of levels, for each factor,
and then successfully varying each factor over its range with the other factors held constant at

Galvez Handout M233-Lesson 1 Academic Year 2019-2020


the baseline level. After all tests are performed, a series of graphs are usually constructed showing
how the response variable is affected by varying each factor with all other factors held constant.
The major disadvantage of the OFAT strategy is that it fails to consider any possible
interaction between the factors. Interaction between factors are very common and if they occur,
OFAT strategy will usually produce poor results. OFAT experiments are always less efficient than
other methods based on a statistical approach to design.
3. Factorial Experiment Design
This strategy is extensively used in industrial research and development, and for process
improvement. The experimental strategy in which factors are varied together, instead of one at a
time. The factorial experimental design concept is extremely important and a particular type is
called 22 factorial design (read as, two factors each at two levels). This type would enable the
experimenter to investigate the individual effects of each factor (or the main effects) and to
determine whether the factors interact. Other types of factorial design are:
(a) 23 factorial design;
(b) 24 factorial design.

The following are the applications of experimental design technique:

1. Improved process yields;
2. Reduced variability and closer conformance to nominal or target requirements;
3. Reduced development time;
4. Reduce overall costs.

In engineering, its applications are:

1. Evaluation and comparison of basic design configurations;
2. Evaluation of material alternatives;
3. Selection of design parameters so that the product will work well under a wide variety
of field conditions, that is, so that the product is robust;
4. Determination of key product design parameters that impact product performance;
5. Formulation of new products.


1. Montgomery, D. C. and G. C. Runger. (2003). Applied Statistics and Probability for

Engineers. USA.
2. Mendenhall, Beaver, and Beaver. (2009). Introduction to Probability and Statistics. USA.

Galvez Handout M233-Lesson 1 Academic Year 2019-2020