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.

Abundance—Big Data

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  • All the grains of sand
  • On all existing beaches
  • Just the beginning

Over time, data sets have grown from hand-gathered, penciled-in numbers to vast arrays of cross-linked information. From marketing to weather to less transparent government interests, data on individuals, events, and domains of many descriptions are being gathered and mined in unprecedented quantities. Due to issues such as statistical power, even trivially small effect sizes can easily become highly statistically significant. In short, the entry of big data heralds mandates for effect sizes and the exit of p values. When p values no longer serve their intended purpose, they are no longer of value to the statistical process, although they will likely need to be mentioned for the comfort of those whose pervasive ...

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