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Statistics for Dummies by Deborah Rumsey
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I bought Statistics for Dummies to help with the statistical portion of my Master's thesis. Somehow, I had managed to get through college and grad school without taking a statistics course. Unfortunately, this book was almost no help with learning statistics at all. The reason, it isn't intended to help you do statistics; it is intended to help you interpret them. It does a very good job at it's real purpose—helping you make sense of the statistics bandied in the new media.

Journalists tend to report on relative risk because they are easy to say and can sound impressive. For example: Say one person per billion in the population at large typically experiences having their brains blow out the back of their head when they sneeze. Now say that two people per billion have that happen when they are filling up their cars with premium fuel, but there is no difference in people who fill up their cars with regular. That means you are 100% more likely to sneeze and blow out the back of your head while filling your car with premium. So you should never use premium fuel! Right?

What journalists would ignore in the previous fallacious scenario is that your actual risk is only two in a billion. But a 100% increase in risk sounds a lot more interesting and scary, doesn't it. Sigh.

The book is very readable and even humorous at times. Humor is a major accomplishment in a subject as dry as this one. One of the most important lessons it teaches is to distrust relative risk comparisons. ( )
  hermit_9 | Jan 19, 2008 |
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To my husband, Eric, and my son, Clint Eric: You are my greatest teachers.
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Introduction -- The purpose of this book is to get you ready to sort through and evaluate the incredible amount of statistical information that comes to you on a daily basis. (You know the stuff: charts, graphs, tables, as well as headlines that talk about the results of the latest poll, survey, experiment, or other scientific study.) This book arms you with the ability to decipher and make important decisions about statistical results (for example, the results of the latest medical studies), being ever aware of the ways in which people can mislead you with statistics and how to handle them.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764554239, Paperback)

In the numbers explosion all around us in our modern-day dealings, the buzzword is data, as in, “Do you have any data to support your claim?” “The data supported the original hypothesis that . . .” and “The data bear this out. . . .” But the field of statistics is not just about data. Statistics is the entire process involved in gathering evidence to answer questions about the world, in cases where that evidence happens to be numerical data.

Statistics For Dummies is for everyone who wants to sort through and evaluate the incredible amount of statistical information that comes to them on a daily basis. (You know the stuff: charts, graphs, tables, as well as headlines that talk about the results of the latest poll, survey, experiment, or other scientific study.) This book arms you with the ability to decipher and make important decisions about statistical results, being ever aware of the ways in which people can mislead you with statistics. Get the inside scoop on number-crunching nuances, plus insight into how you canDetermine the oddsCalculate a standard scoreFind the margin of errorRecognize the impact of pollsEstablish criteria for a good surveyMake informed decisions about experiments

This down-to-earth reference is chock-full of real examples from real sources that are relevant to your everyday life: from the latest medical breakthroughs, crime studies, and population trends to surveys on Internet dating, cell phone use, and the worst cars of the millennium. Statistics For Dummies departs from traditional statistics texts, references, supplement books, and study guides in the following ways:Practical and intuitive explanations of statistical concepts, ideas, techniques, formulas, and calculations.Clear and concise step-by-step procedures that intuitively explain how to work through statistics problems.Upfront and honest answers to your questions like, “What does this really mean?” and “When and how I will ever use this?”

Chances are, Statistics For Dummies will be your No. 1 resource for discovering how numerical data figures into your corner of the universe.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:27 -0400)

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This guide shows you how to collect, graph, and critique data; decipher distributions; calculate confidence intervals and hypothesis tests; analyze data with correlation, regression, and two-way tables; and much more.

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