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.

Importance vs. Difference—Substantive vs. Statistical Significance

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  • Blindfolded statistics
  • A flash of insight
  • People determine worth

Just because something is statistically significant does not mean that it is substantively important in addressing the intent of our questions. There might have been too much statistical power (i.e., the ability to find a difference, discussed in the next chapter). When there is too much power, differences that are trivially sized and would not make a real difference to anyone can present themselves as statistically significant. Alternatively, a true difference might not look statistically significant due to the test lacking the statistical power needed to find a difference. These issues are weighed and balanced against the resources available to the project and the size of the difference that is likely ...

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