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.


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  • How many here?
  • How many there?
  • How many everywhere?

Frequencies are counts. What they count and how the counts are split into groups mainly depend on the question asked but frequently depend to some extent on the data (i.e., their levels of measurement and distributions). Frequencies are meant to convey a sense of both absolute and comparative magnitudes. Both counts and percentages are generally used to present this information. Usually, we do not see more than about 6 or 8 groups in a set of data, except when they naturally fall into other categories, such as the 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.). Even then, the categories are often regrouped into a smaller number of categories (e.g., New England, Midwest).

The high school principal wonders about the ...

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