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Beginning Statistics

Beginning Statistics
An Introduction for Social Scientists

Second Edition

November 2014 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In the Second Edition of this bestselling textbook, the authors use real-world examples to introduce basic principles in statistics with no prior knowledge or experience assumed. With an emphasis on describing concepts, showing through example and illustrating points with graphs and displays, this book will provide readers with a step-by-step introduction to using statistics.

Chapters address the following questions:
  • Why bother learning statistics in the first place and are they relevant to real life?
  • How do I make sensible tables and informative graphs?
  • What are descriptive and inferential statistics and how are they used?
  • What are regression and correlation anyway?
Introduction: Are Statistics Relevant to Real Life?
Data and Table Manners
Graphs and Charts
Averages and Percentiles
Transforming Data
The Normal Distribution
From Samples to Populations
Getting Confident
Fun with Proportions
How to Decide How to Decide
More Tricky Decisions
Correlation and Regression
Analysing Tables with Categorical Data
Appendix 1 Statistical Tables
Appendix 2 Answers to Practice Questions
Appendix 3 Algebra and Mathematical Notation Explained

The authors of Beginning Statistics have written an ideal text for those students who are unfamiliar with and often petrified about statistical analysis. They have written a book that is comprehensive and which is made accessible by a writing style that eases the reader through explanations of complex ideas and uses lots of examples and exercises to facilitate understanding. They should be congratulated for writing such a clear but rigorous book.


Alan Bryman
Professor of Organisational and Social Research, University of Leicester

This book very neatly steps from definition to worked example and interpretation with the writing lively and clear. The first edition has been my ‘go to’ jargon buster textbook whenever I or a student need statistical language or calculations explaining transparently and I welcome the second edition with its updated examples.

Paul Norman
Lecturer in Human Geography, Applied Spatial Analysis & Policy, University of Leeds

Simple, brilliant, thoroughly entertaining – a logical and succinct introduction to essential social statistics pitched at the right level for beginners. The latest edition has several extended spotlights including a comprehensive annotation of statistics and its application in the real ‘big data’ world, illustrative examples based on recent data, and most of all reflective learning outcomes for each chapter. I am convinced that this book is an indispensable resource for all under- and post-graduate students and social science researchers, highly recommended!

Sabu S. Padmadas
Professor of Demography and Global Health, University of Southampton

This is an excellent book, covering the basics of statistics in an interesting and easy to understand way. Great for a (gentle) first course in statistics for social scientists.

Dr Alexandru Cernat
Social Science , Manchester University
November 8, 2016

A very nicely structured and accessible introduction that can serve as an excellent resource for teaching research methods at Undergraduate level and beyond.

Dr Clive Hedges
School of Social Sciences and Law, University of Teesside
October 25, 2016

This is a useful book but presents the statistics in a rather traditional way for the largely non-mathematical (or phobic) social science students I teach. The section on non-parametric tests is disappointingly small, given the frequency with which non-parametric data occurs in social science projects. It is useful as supplementary reading and I will include it on the reading list.

Professor Jackie Campbell
Health , Northampton University
August 26, 2016

This is an excellent book for undergraduate and postgraduate students who are learning to use SPSS. The examples are simple and easy to follow. Will definitely recommend all my students to use this book

Dr Parveen Ali
School of Nursing & Midwifery, Sheffield University
July 1, 2016

This book is intended for those MA Education students who are embarking on statistical analysis for the first time and i believe it will become their 'bible'. It seems to be accessible and cover all that will be required.

Mrs Vanessa Cottle
Education , Derby University
December 1, 2015

This book contains all the essential information that is needed to understand this course. Furthermore, the lectures will be linked to this book. In addition, much of the information will be linked to the final exam.

Ms Emilia Mantadakis
Department of Political Science, Maastricht University
November 24, 2015

Clear and at the right level

Dr Glenn Robert Marland
Health, Nursing & Midwifery (Dumfries), University of the West of Scotland
October 28, 2015

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Ch 1. Introduction: Are Statistics Relevant to Real Life?