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.

Murkiness—Missing Data

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  • Heavy fog rolls in
  • Night falls with no moon above
  • Where did the trail go?

Common sense tells us that some amount of missing data for large projects should be tolerable. For example, if we have one thousand people selected for our sample and we have data for 999, we are really quite safe in extending our generalizations to the entire group from which the sample was selected. Various polls and surveys have vastly higher rates of missing data from different sources (e.g., return rates, skipped questions, out-of-range responses such as a date of birth that would make someone 180 years old). Knowing how much missing data can be ignored, when and how missing data can be imputed, and when there are simply too ...

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