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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  • Old wisdom
  • Strength in numbers
  • Statistics agree

Statistical power is the ability to detect a true difference, measured on a scale from 0 to 1. Traditionally, research projects set power at 0.80, or an 80% chance of detecting a true difference, if it exists, and rejecting the null hypothesis. Although a few maneuvers can be used to increase statistical power (e.g., looking for a bigger difference), the typical method is to get more subjects (i.e., increase sample size). With too much power, you risk finding trivially small differences. With too little power, you risk not finding real differences that could be important. Because increasing power normally means increasing the size of the sample, it also means that costs can increase quite quickly. Most projects therefore ...

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