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.

Averages—Central Tendencies

• Mean, median, mode
• What’s an average to do?

Many students first come to dislike statistics when introduced to central tendencies. This is no surprise. The topic begins by making something complicated that should be simple: an average. First, it gets a special name, central tendency, and three very different choices (mean, median, and mode, covered later in this chapter). Many students are then required to calculate several of each, as though struggling for a few hours will make them feel better about these concepts.

The choice of a measure of central tendency is determined largely by the structure of the data—mostly level of measurement and, to some degree, skewness. Here, researchers find themselves in one of three positions:

• They know what they are ...
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