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.

Scatterings—Distributions

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  • Diversity is information
  • The foolish fight it
  • The astute understand it
  • The wise swim in it

To address the questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how, statisticians need to know how data are spread and shaped. The normal curve (covered in Chapter 10) is arguably the most important shape (i.e., distribution) in statistics. Knowing about distributions is part of matching the correct statistical technique with the question being asked. Further complicating the issue of distributions is that statistics themselves have their own distributions. The term distribution sounds deceptively simple for what it entails. Fortunately, many statistics that rely on the normal curve are sufficiently robust even to moderately large violations of their assumptions; that is, the results can be fairly close to what would ...

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