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.

“Why” Conduct Research, and “Why” Use Statistics?

1.0 Learning Objectives

An empirical investigation is one based on observations of some set of persons, places, things, or events, and statistical analysis represents a set of tools useful in organizing and assessing such empirical observations. In this chapter, we

  • describe three different ways in which phenomena (i.e., persons, places, things, or events) can be represented by their properties;
  • describe two different types of study intending to answer different questions regarding a set of phenomena; and
  • provide an outline of the different methods of statistical analysis appropriate for the different types of study and different types of property.

1.1 Motivation

Every investigation starts—and ends—with a purpose: “I want/need to ‘understand’ something about something.” If the investigator’s purpose is “I want/need to ‘understand’ some observable ...

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