The Introductory Statistics Course: The Entity-Property-Relationship Approach Donald B. Macnaughton* This paper proposes five concepts for discussion at the beginning of an introductory statistics course: (1) entities, (2) properties of entities (which are roughly equivalent to variables), (3) a major goal of empirical research: to predict and control the values of variables, (4) relationships between variables as a key to prediction and control, and (5) statistical techniques for studying relationships between variables as a means to accurate prediction and control. After students have learned the five concepts they learn standard statistical topics in terms of the concepts. It is recommended that students learn the material through numerous practical examples. It is argued that the approach gives students a lasting appreciation of the vital role of the field of statistics in empirical research. KEY WORDS: Statistical education; Prediction; Control; Role of statistics in empirical research. NOTE 1. A later version of this essay is available at http://www.matstat.com/teach/eprt0130.htm and (in PDF) at http://www.matstat.com/teach/eprt0130.pdf NOTE 2. The (HTML) version of this paper you are presently reading takes around 49 pages to print. A more compact (PDF) version that prints in 23 pages is available at http://www.matstat.com/teach/   1. INTRODUCTION Two former presidents of the American Statistical Association have stated that "students frequently view statistics as the worst course taken in college" (Hogg 1991, Iman 1994). A third former president has stated that the field of statistics is in a "crisis" and the subject has become "irrelevant to much of scientific enquiry" (Box 1995). Many statisticians reluctantly agree with these remarks. In contrast, many statisticians agree that the field of statistics is a fundamental tool of the scientific method which, in turn, plays a key role in modern society. Thus rather than being a worst course and possibly irrelevant, the introductory statistics course ought to be a friendly introduction to the simplicity, beauty, and truth of the scientific method. Teachers must therefore reshape the introductory course. Many teachers have already contributed to the reshaping, as noted below. This paper proposes further changes. I focus on the introductory statistics course for students who are not majoring in statistics or mathematics, whom I call "non-statistics-majors". Most students who take an introductory statistics course are members of this group. The introductory course for non-statistics-majors is important because it is the main seedbed of public opinion about the field of statistics. Section 2 recommends two goals for the introductory statistics course. Section 3 proposes a sequence of five concepts for discussion at the beginning of an introductory course. Section 4 argues that the five concepts provide a broad and deep foundation on which to build the field of statistics. Section 5 reports on tests of the approach in three courses. Section 6 discusses considerations for teachers wishing to use the approach, and section 7 gives a summary.