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Understanding Statistics

Understanding Statistics
An Introduction for the Social Sciences

November 1996 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In this comprehensive introduction to using statistics in the social sciences, Daniel B Wright describes the most popular statistical techniques, explaining their basic principles and demonstrating their use in a wide range of social research.

The book is divided into four sections. Part One explains the theoretical relationship between statistics and research, outlining the place of statistics in the research process and introducing hypothesis testing. In Part Two the two t-tests are described in detail. This serves as a foundation for the rest of the book and develops skills that are called upon in later chapters. Part Three outlines the three main families of statistical tests - regression, analysis of variance, and two-variable tests. Finally, Part Four offers a guide to more advanced techniques.

Statistics in Social Science Research
Introduction to Hypothesis Testing
Comparing the Means of Paired Data
Comparing the Means of Two Groups
Introducing Regression and Correlation
Comparing Many Means
The Analysis of Variance Approach

Comparing Proportions
Advanced Techniques

`I found this book very well written and I enjoyed reading it. I particularly liked the use of humour, a welcome addition in an area which is all too often dry and humourless. The examples chosen to illustrate statistical techniques are appropriate, often entertaining and capture the reader's interest. The author is obviously knowledgeable and I could find no major errors in the material presented.

The book has a clear yet ambitious progression. It starts from basics such as what are means and modes, and spends some time dealing with basic concepts and notation; it ends up, however, by covering advanced topics such as loglinear modelling, multiple regression and structural equation modelling. In my opinion these topics are introduced in a gradual, gentle and accessible way.

While there are many books which attempt to introduce statistics to social scientists, there are few that do it as well as this one. It deserves to become a popular student text' - Stephen Newstead, University of Plymouth

`Daniel B Wright has written not just a well-constructed and thorough university-level textbook which "touched all bases", but also a complete social and behavioural science research "handbook" that graduate students and confirmed researchers will often be referring back to before going to specialized works or research articles' - Karl M van Meter, Founding Director of the Bulletin de Methodologie Sociologique and Member of the French CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research)

`I like this book. Wright's "user-friendly" style provides a stimulating introduction to statistics that explains the basic concepts of statistics, while also giving a bit of the history of how several of these ideas emerged - I'll never think of the "student's t-test" in quite the same light again! The presentation is lively and thoughtful, with well-selected examples' - Allan L McCutcheon, Donald O Clifton Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director, Gallup Research Centre, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

'There are few introductory books which would even attempt to explain such advanced techniques as Wright and yet he makes you wonder why this is the case - if he can explain it so clearly, why can't everyone else? Wright's writing style is laid back and his slight tangents into the characters and history behind the tests make for a very informative and enjoyable read (I'd previously thought that 'statistics textbook' and 'enjoyable read' were mutually exclusive terms!). Although primarily aimed at undergraduates the book has much to offer those of a substantially higher level and I recommend it to anyone who wishes to improve their understanding of statistics' - British Psychological Society, Mathematics, Statistics and Computing Section Newsletter

`With pleasure I can say that this book gives a good and well-organized introduction to statistics and really serves as a starting point to learning specific techniques.' - Statistician

`There are numerous introductory statistics texts, but few are as readable as Daniel Wright's Understanding Statistics... This is an excellent introductory text suitable for students and researchers across the social sciences' - British Journal of Sociology

`This is an extremely good book. In one slim volume a truly staggering amount of material is covered, from the basics for undergraduate courses right through to advanced topics like MANOVA' - British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology

`[A] well written introduction to the statistics most often employed in the social sciences' - The American Statistician

An excellent book to introduce undergraduate students to statistics. I really like way it explains concepts clearly and is very reader friendly.

Miss Caroline Wojcik-Gammell
Health, Science & Social care, University Campus Suffolk
January 11, 2011

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