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.

Uncertainty—p Values

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Statistics help tame ambiguity by quantifying it. We decide in advance how large a risk we are willing to take if we are wrong in saying there’s a difference, thereby rejecting the null hypothesis. In many situations, people have settled on a 5% risk, hence the frequently seen 0.05 cutoff for statistical significance. Before accepting someone else’s judgment, ask yourself whether that is an acceptable risk for an answer to the question at hand. What if the question were about a meltdown risk to your local nuclear power plant, the one less than a mile down the road? You might want to be a bit surer before accepting the risk of being wrong in your answer. ...

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