Chapter 1

Statistics in a Nutshell

In This Chapter

  • Finding out what the process of statistics is all about
  • Gaining success with statistics in your everyday life, your career, and in the classroom

The world today is overflowing with data to the point where anyone (even me!) can be overwhelmed. I wouldn't blame you if you were cynical right now about statistics you read about in the media — I am too at times. The good news is that while a great deal of misleading and incorrect information is lying out there waiting for you, a lot of great stuff is also being produced; for example, many studies and techniques involving data are helping improve the quality of our lives. Your job is to be able to sort out the good from the bad and be confident in your ability to do that. Through a strong understanding of statistics and statistical procedures, you gain power and confidence with numbers in your everyday life, in your job, and in the classroom. That's what this book is all about.

In this chapter, I give you an overview of the role statistics plays in today's data-packed society and what you can do to not only survive but thrive. You get a much broader view of statistics as a partner in the scientific method — designing effective studies, collecting good data, organizing and analyzing the information, interpreting the results, and making appropriate conclusions. (And you thought statistics was just number-crunching!)

Thriving in a Statistical World

It's hard to get a handle on the flood ...

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