Understanding Statistical Analysis and Modeling is a text for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in the social, behavioral, or managerial sciences seeking to understand the logic of statistical analysis. Robert Bruhl covers all the basic methods of descriptive and inferential statistics in an accessible manner by way of asking and answering research questions. Concepts are discussed in the context of a specific research project and the book includes probability theory as the basis for understanding statistical inference. Instructions on using SPSS® are included so that readers focus on interpreting statistical analysis rather than calculations. Tables are used, rather than formulas, to describe the various calculations involved with statistical analysis and the exercises in the book are intended to encourage students to formulate and execute their own empirical investigations.

Research Design

Purpose: Making Sense of What We Observe

Every investigation starts—and ends—with a purpose: “I want (or need) to ‘understand’ something about something.” In some cases, the investigator’s question is, “I want (or need) to ‘understand’ some observable feature or behavior of some person(s), place(s), thing(s), or event(s).” In such cases,

  • an observable person, place, thing, or event is said to be a phenomenon;
  • an investigation based on observation is said to be empirical; and
  • statistical analysis represents a set of tools useful in organizing and assessing such empirical observations.

However, the meaningfulness of any statistical analysis is determined by the meaningfulness of the motivation and method by which the observations were obtained:

  • First, the process of making observations is a cognitive activity that requires numerous decisions on the ...
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