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.

Lopsidedness—Skewness

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  • Errors unbalanced
  • Strength erodes
  • Answers suffer

Symmetric distributions are like paper dolls: They look like folded paper that was cut and then opened to show a balanced shape on both sides. Skewed distributions are lopsided, off-balance. Parametric statistics depend on a balanced, normal (bell) shape. When a normal curve looks pulled to one side, the distribution is said to be skewed to that side. Income distributions, for example, are positively skewed because relatively few people earn many times what typical people earn. Small amounts of skew are no problem for most statistics. Large amounts can bias results.

Methods exist to handle skewed distributions. Statisticians have developed ways to handle most troublesome statistical issues. The problem is that the statistics get very complicated very quickly. Fortunately, relatively ...

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