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.

Nesting—Hierarchical Models

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  • Within the clan
  • Nuclear families
  • Have dinner

When situations exist whereby the subjects of an analysis are somehow contained within another group (e.g., patients within doctors, students within specific teachers’ courses, or engines within factories), we use a nested analysis. Ignoring nesting has caused almost immeasurable damage to egos and reputations, even to science itself. Handling nesting is often a complex issue, but it still should be done.

The issue at hand is that groups tend to be and to act somewhat more like themselves than do randomly picked individuals from across all groups. Sometimes that group effect is something that is the target of interest; sometimes (and more often) it is a plausible confound that needs to be accommodated in the model, one way ...

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