ECON1203 Business and Economic Statistics - 2019

Term 3
6 Units of Credit
On Campus
This course outline is for the current semester. To view outlines from other years and/or semesters, visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course introduces students to basic statistical concepts and methods that are widely used in economics, finance, accountancy, marketing and, more generally, business. Emphasis is placed on applying statistical methods to draw inferences from sample data as an aid to informed decision-making. Course topics include descriptive statistics, probability distributions, point and interval estimation of parameters, hypothesis testing, and regression models. Students will learn to solve statistical problems in an Excel spreadsheet environment. This course is the first stepping stone for data analysis and provides the basis for further study of statistical and econometric methods.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

ECON1203 Business and Economic Statistics is offered as part of the first-year core in the BCom and BEc degrees within the UNSW Business School. It aims to give you the basic skills and knowledge for data analysis that will be used in further study in all other disciplines in the Business School. In particular, ECON1203 is a prerequisite for all higher-level courses in econometrics and business statistics offered by the School of Economics. These courses are designed to equip students with more advanced statistical and other quantitative skills that are in demand by employers in the public and private sectors.

Presumed Knowledge

ECON 1203 takes seriously the Business School’s assumed knowledge requirement that all students entering the BCom and BEc degrees are familiar with the material covered in HSC Mathematics, which includes: basic functions, including logarithmic and exponential; using graphs to represent and analyse functions; solving equations; basic probability; and elementary differentiation and integration. If you have not studied one or more of these topics previously, then remedial work will be necessary. This material will not be revised as part of the ECON 1203 lectures or tutorials.

A Maths Skills Test has been designed to evaluate the adequacy of your basic quantitative skills for this course. This test is available on the course website and all students should attempt the test to reflect on whether they need additional help. Students with the appropriate background will find the test straightforward. If this is not the case for you, and your results make you feel that you require some assistance, then there are at least two options. (1) You may wish to engage in some self-directed study, in which case we recommend you purchase the following book available at the UNSW bookshop: Managing Mathematics: A Refresher Course for Economics and Commerce Students, by Judith Watson, 2nd edition, 2002. (2) UNSW in conjunction with Randwick TAFE is offering a course, TAFE Statement in Essential Maths for Higher Education, that provides instruction in the mathematical tools required for this course. For further details, go to the TAFE website.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-chargeDrRachida OuysseRoom 441, UNSW Business School9385 3321Fridays 13:30-15:30 (and by appointment)
LecturerDrJonathan LimRoom 409, UNSW Business School9385 0121Wednesday 12:00-14:00 (and by appointment)
Tutor in chargeMsLee Lee OoiRoom 463, UNSW Business School9385 3565By appointment

A full list of tutors, tutorial times and locations will be posted on the course website.

Communications with Staff

You should feel free to contact your lecturer(s) about any academic matter. However, where possible, all enquiries about the subject material should be made at lectures or tutorials, or during consultation times. Discussion of course subject material will not be entered into via lengthy emails.

Any questions regarding administrative matters (e.g., tutorial allocations) should be directed to the tutor-in-charge, Lee Lee Ooi.

You should expect responses to email correspondence within 48 hours, but not over weekends. Before communicating with staff, please check relevant components of this course outline as this will provide answers to most common questions. You should also regularly check the course website for announcements and reminders about upcoming events and deadlines.

Peer Assistance Support Scheme (PASS) and Exam-Period Pitstop

PASS is a scheme introduced in the Business School to help undergraduates make the transition from secondary school to the first year at University. The scheme consists of study groups run by second and third-year students which students enrolled in this course are able to join on a voluntary basis. Many students have found PASS helpful as it provides both extra problems for practice and advice from experienced students. It also provides an informal atmosphere with the opportunity to ask any questions that students may be hesitant to ask the staff.

All PASS classes will run for one hour each week, commencing around Week 3. More information, including the times and locations of PASS groups, will appear on the course website and in lectures.

In the weeks leading up to final exams, the School will be providing Pitstop, an opportunity for consultation with tutors as you revise for the exam. Details of Pitstop times and locations for this course will be advised closer to the time.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

The philosophy underpinning this course and its teaching and learning strategies is based on “Guidelines on Learning that Inform Teaching" at UNSW. More detail on Teaching and Learning Strategies for this course is provided below.

The lectures, tutorials, and assessment have been designed to appropriately challenge students and support the achievement of the desired learning outcomes. A climate of inquiry and dialogue is encouraged between students and tutors and amongst students (in and out of class).  The lecturer and tutors aim to provide meaningful and timely feedback to students to improve learning outcomes.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

The examinable content of the course is defined by the textbook references given in the Lecture Schedule, the content of lectures, and the content of the tutorial materials. Additional content is provided to enhance, contextualise, and ease your learning.


The purpose of lectures is to provide a logical structure for the topics that make up the course; to emphasise and explain the important concepts and methods in each topic and to provide initial examples to which the concepts and methods are applied.


Tutorials are an integral part of the course. Tutorial activities, including discussions of your homework attempts prior to the class, build on the material discussed in lectures and are designed to help you deepen your understanding and practice working with the material.

Out-of-Class Study

A significant amount of your learning is expected to be achieved outside of class time. Lectures can only provide a structure to assist your study, and tutorial time is limited. Both the course website and the Wiley Platform online learning environment, accessible from the course website, offer an array of diverse materials to assist in your out-of-class study and revision.

A good study strategy for getting on top of each week's worth of material is as follows:

  • Read the relevant chapter(s) of the text each week before the lecture. This will give you a general idea of the topics covered.
  • Attend lecture. Here the context of that week’s topics in the course, their relevance, and the important elements of the topics are identified and explained.
  • After completing the above activities, and before attending the week’s tutorial, attempt the tutorial questions and attempt the quiz for the relevant chapter in the Wiley Platform. This will help you identify issues that you can discuss and clarify in the tutorial class.
  • Attend your tutorial. Here you will engage in interactive discussion and problem-solving using the material from the previous week’s lecture.


During this course, students will use the popular spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel to solve statistical problems. Excel output will be discussed in tutorials and lectures, through worked examples. Excel is your computing tool to perform statistical data analysis and inference. Computing is an integral component of ECON1203, and you are expected to become proficient in Excel by the end of this course. Please note that components of the case study, which is assessed in the course, will require the use of Excel.

5. Course Resources

The website for this course is on UNSW Moodle.

The required textbook for this course is:

Black, et al. (2019), Business analytics and Statistics, 1st Edition, Wiley (ISBN 978-0-730-32193-2).

The following books, available in the High Use Collection Section of the library, may also be useful as alternative references.

  • Sharpe, DeVeaux and Velleman (2015), Business Statistics, 3rd Global Edition, Pearson (ISBN 978-1-292-05869-6).
  • Keller, G. (2011), Statistics for Management and Economics (Abbreviated), 9th Edition. South-Western Cengage Learning.
  • Berenson, M.L. et al. (2009), Business Statistics. Pearson Prentice Hall.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

​The School of Economics strives to be responsive to student feedback. If you would like more information on how the design of this course and changes made to it over time have taken students’ needs and preferences into account, please contact the Director of Education at the School of Economics.

We value your feedback we get through myExperience survey. This is gathered and summarised to provide information about any key issues that students have encountered taking the subject. We endeavour to improve the course structure and fill in any gaps in your learning experience. This happens with every iteration of this subject. For example, with the rollover to the Trimester model, we have learned from Term 1 and Term 2 invaluable information and updated some of the material available in the Ready/Start/Go for smooth transition into the start of the Term.

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 16th SeptemberLecture

Introduction; frequency distributions and histograms; shapes of distributions; describing bivariate relationships, Measures of central tendency (location); dispersion measures (spread); measures of association; introduction to linear regression

Chapters 2 and 3

Week 2: 23rd SeptemberLecture

Introduction to probability, Random variables; discrete probability distributions; expectations

Chapters 4 and 5


Introduction; frequency distributions and histograms; shapes of distributions; describing bivariate relationships, Measures of central tendency (location); dispersion measures (spread); measures of association; introduction to linear regression

Chapters 2 and 3

Week 3: 30th SeptemberLecture

Continuous random variables; the normal distribution; introduction to surveys and sampling

Chapter 6


Introduction to probability, Random variables; discrete probability distributions; expectations

Chapters 4 and 5

Week 4: 7th OctoberLecture

Introduction to estimators and sampling distributions; confidence intervals; introduction to hypothesis testing; tests about the population proportion

Chapter 7


Continuous random variables; the normal distribution; introduction to surveys and sampling

Chapter 6

Monday is a public holiday. Monday students please make every effort to join other tutorial sessions.

Week 5: 14th OctoberLecture

Central limit theorem; more on sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, and inference; tests about the population mean; tests when the population variance is unknown

Chapters 7, 8 and 9


Introduction to estimators and sampling distributions; confidence intervals; introduction to hypothesis testing; tests about the population proportion

Chapter 7

Week 6: 21st October

No lectures this week.

Mid-term test.


No tutorials this week

Week 7: 28th OctoberLecture

More on confidence intervals; errors in hypothesis testing; p-values; power and sample size, Chi-squared tests

Chapters 9 and 12



Central limit theorem; more on sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, and inference; tests about the population mean; tests when the population variance is unknown

Chapters 7, 8 and 9

Week 8: 4th NovemberLecture

Simple linear regression; the least squares method; basic assumptions; R-squared; Inference about the regression line; errors and residuals; introduction to multiple regression

Chapter 13


More on confidence intervals; errors in hypothesis testing; p-values; power and sample size, Chi-squared tests

Chapters 9 and 12

Week 9 : 11th NovemberLecture

Multiple regression, continued; review

Chapter 14


Simple linear regression; the least squares method; basic assumptions; R-squared; Inference about the regression line; errors and residuals; introduction to multiple regression

Chapter 13

Week 10: 18th NovemberLecture



Multiple regression, continued; review

Chapter 14

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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