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Friday, April 10, 2015

Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide

"This delightful and informative guide from my friends at No Starch Press comes with the following cover blurb: "Statistics Done Wrong is a pithy, essential guide to statistical blunders in modern Science that will show you how to keep your research blunder-free."" according to John Wass, statistician based in Chicago, IL.

It is somewhat pithy, but as to blunder free, I will quote the old maxim that “nothing is foolproof, as fools are so very clever.”

Still, the book has much to recommend it. It devotes time to asking the proper questions and their subsequent statistical analysis. For those who choke up when they see equations, the book has ample graphics, a few cartoons, but no math (at least any couched in the symbolic shorthand that mathematicians love). The author also covers the increasingly important concepts of power and sample size, as well as the core area of misinterpretation of p-values. The book assumes no formal statistical training on the part of the reader so the language is everyday plain. It seeks to clarify basic concepts and NOT teach the intricacies of the mathematics. Lastly, it offers up gems such as ‘studies with statistical and logical errors are not necessarily wrong, just poorly supported.’ Let me now leave you with another gem discovered in this book that was new to your editor. I quote the author “…Hanlon’s Razor directs us to ‘never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence’…”. Now to the pithy parts…

Throughout the text there are several “markers” to draw the reader’s attention to the core names and subject matter, usually bold section headers and italics within the body of the text. The incredibly lucid explanations are always followed by relevant examples, usually medically related but at both the research and clinical levels.
Published on: 2015-03-16
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Source: Scientific Computing