Quantitative and Statistical Methods in Planning

EMAD DAWWAS's picture
Course Code: 
Course Outline: 


The main objective of this course is to provide a statistical background that would help MSc Urban Planning students in their quantitative analysis be it in other courses in their major, in projects they may undertake during their study or in the future, or in their theses.

This will be achieved by introducing basic statistical background and concepts, as well as intermediate and advanced topics including multiple regression and Geo-statistical analyses. All topics will include hand-on exercises using SPSS statistical package to address issues pertaining to the urban planning profession.

The students will be given the chance to apply the quantitative and statistical methods and techniques they learned during the class in their fields of interests through full projects. These projects will include the development of carefully considered logical and quantitative argument by using their own data for description, estimation, comparison and explanation.


By the end of the class, students will be able:

  1. To demonstrate an understanding of descriptive statistics, and which tests of significance are appropriate and how to carry them out; 20%
  2. To apply One-way and Two-way  Analysis of Variance and interpret their results; 10%
  3. To understand the principles and assumptions of multivariate-based analysis methods including multiple regression; 30%
  4. To carry out a range of analyses using SPSS (t-test, chi-square, analysis of variance, correlation, simple and multiple regression) and interpret their results. 30%
  5. To develop a practical understanding of the methods of modeling geo-spatial relationships among spatial and aspatial variables. 10%






3 to 5 short-term assignments



Covers materials up to 8th or 10th week


Final Exam

Project and presentation: 30%


Written exam: 30%


Main Topic


No. of Weeks


Course Outline


1 Week

20/01 – 26/ 01

Descriptive Statistics

Introduction to Descriptive Statistics

Frequency Distribution

Graphical Representations

Measures of Central Tendency

2 Weeks

27/01 – 09/02

Introduction to Probability and the Normal Distribution

Probabilities & Discrete Distributions

The Normal Probability Distribution

Sampling Distribution

2 Weeks

10/02 – 23/02

Introduction to Experimental Research

A Brief Introduction to Experimental Research

Hypothesis Testing

Type I and Type II Errors

Samples and Populations

Sampling Errors

2 Weeks

24/02 – 09/03

First Exam

One-way and Two-way Analysis of Variance

Within-groups Variance

Between-groups Variance

One-way ANOVA

Two-way ANOVA

2 Weeks

10/03 – 23/03

Linear Regression

Linear Regression

Predicting from the Regression Line

Correlation Coefficients

Interpreting Correlation Coefficients

2 Weeks

24/03 – 06/04

Multiple Regression

Partial Correlation

Semi-partial Correlation

Overlapping Variance

Type I and Type II Errors in Multiple Regression

2 Weeks

07/04 – 20/04

A Brief Introduction to Geostatistical Analysis

Fundamentals of Geo-statistical Analysis

Selected applications of Geo-statistics using ArcGIS

2 Weeks

21/04 – 27/04

Project Presentations

1 Week

28/04 – 04/05

Final Exam


Moore, S. David; McCabe, P. George and Craig A. Craig (2009). Introduction to the Practice of the Statistics, Sixth Edition. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York.


Descriptive Statistics Analysis (at least One assignment)

Students are to collect data and apply all descriptive statistics they will have already learned in the class. Data sets to be collected must be about urban planning issues.

Paper Review (at least Two assignments):

Students are to do at least two paper review assignments. In the first one, students will be required to summarize the descriptive statistics in THREE carefully selected journal articles from the students’ fields of interests within the urban planning major. In the second assignment, students are to review ONE full paper in which the author used multiple regression analysis.

In both assignments, students are to prepare power point presentations and share their results with their colleagues during the class.

Hints on Paper Review Assignments:

In these assignments students are expected to answer the following questions:

  1. The purpose of this exercise is to enable you to become more familiar with the research in their fields, and to recognize the range of different statistics that are being used to answer research questions.
  2. Find a research journal that focuses on some aspects of your field of interest.
  3. Select a research article from the selected journal. Read through the abstract, and skim read the article. Write down the title of the article and the journal from which it came. Then, based upon your understanding of the abstract, write down the research question that you think the researchers were interested in answering. If you cannot determine the question from the title or by reading the abstract, examine the last paragraph of the introduction, just preceding the methods section, to see if the authors state the purpose of the investigation.
  4. Examine the results section, and make a list of as many different statistics as you can identify. For example: Descriptive statistics and Inferential statistics including:
    • Mean, Median, Mode, Max, Min…..etc.
    • Results of one-way and two-way ANOVA
    • Correlation
    • The relations between the dependent variables and the independent variables and compare the final results with the research questions and hypotheses.
    • Chi square
  5. Write at least one sentence to describe the purpose of each statistical test employed in the research article; that is, explain what the statistical test is designed to do.
  6. Explain why it was necessary to use the statistical test to answer the research question posed in the article.


Project Description:

As part of the class, you are required to work on your own project.  The project aims in the first place to give you the kind of insight and experience in realistic statistical practice that cannot be obtained in classroom lectures or short-term homework assignments. You are to pick a subject that interests you from the urban planning field, and to collect the required data, which can be either primary or secondary.

The project should be designed such that students will gain the experience of how to plan, execute, analyze the data and interpret the results of a several-factor experiment. Choose your subject so that the factors involved are fundamentally quantitative and your dependent variable (y) is a continuous measurement, so that the multiple regression analysis can be used in data modeling and analysis.  At least four different independent variables (x) should be included in your regression model.  More details will be discussed by the end of the semester.

Report Contents and Organization:

•         Your report should be:

o   Typed in English;

o   Font type: Times New Romans;

o   Font size: 12 pnt;

o   Spacing: double;

o   Paper size: A4

•        Properly cited

•        Supplemented with descriptive graphs including:

o   If your project includes maps, they should be with suitable and clear colors, appropriate symbology, labels, title, legend, north arrow, scale bar………etc.

o   Diagrams, pie charts, bar charts, tables, …………………etc. with appropriate titles and clear description inside your document.

•        Organized as follows:

Ø  Title page

Ø  Table of contents

Ø  Introduction: problem definition, well-defined research question(s) and hypotheses

Ø  Literature review

Ø  Methodology (DON’T forget to talk about the data collection techniques you followed …………..etc.)

Ø  Analysis Results and Discussion

Ø  Conclusions and Recommendations

Ø  References


Materials to be submitted:

1)      Final Report printed on A4 and should be colored and organized as mentioned above;

2)      A CD including the following items: the final report in PDF format, final presentation, input data, output data, final maps and charts.



1)      Midpoint Presentation: in this presentation you should answer the following questions:

ð  What you want to do

ð  How you will  do it (flowchart)

ð  Where you are at this point

2)      Final Presentation