This Second Edition of The Tao of Statistics: A Path to Understanding (With No Math) provides a reader-friendly approach to statistics in plain English. Unlike other statistics books, this text explains what statistics mean and how they are used, rather than how to calculate them. The book walks readers through basic concepts as well as some of the most complex statistical models in use. The Second Edition adds coverage of big data to better address its impact on p-values and other key concepts; material on small data to show readers how to handle data with fewer data points than optimal; and other new topics like missing data and effect sizes. The book’s two characters (a high school principal and a director of public health) return in the revised edition, with their examples expanded and updated with reference to contemporary concerns in the fields of education and health.

Data Structure—Levels of Measurement

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  • What can be built?
  • Ask the ground
  • Turn over rocks
  • Dig in the dirt

The grounding for statistics is the level of measurement of the data. Some statistics are appropriate for some levels of measurement; others are not. This is an area where one needs to understand the deeper structure of the data to know which statistics would be meaningful. For example, the data’s level of measurement limits the choice of the most often-used statistic—the average, what statisticians call the central tendency. There are three common choices of averages: the mean, median, and mode (with somewhat esoteric versions within each). These different types of averages are not equally appropriate for data at different levels of measurement. Specific levels of measurement and the impact ...

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