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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  • Patternless, capricious
  • Noise abounds
  • Carefully depend on it

Randomness is the quality of being unsystematic or haphazard. Random samples tend to represent their parent groups fairly well, though, because everyone had an equal chance of being included. Randomness implies being unbiased. So, in the long run, all segments of the parent distribution will be appropriately represented. Random surveys tend to be pretty informative because their data are representative and, thereby, are informative, as long as a representative portion of the population returns them. To the extent that samples are not random, their data are not representative. When a representative sample does not seem likely, it is time to expend resources on a statistician and still not expect miracles. Certain types of sampling can overcome issues ...

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