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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2004
(The "Search Inside the Book" feature was not available for this book at the time this review was posted)
One of the things that help me decide whether or not to buy a book is the table of contents. I hope the information below is useful.
How to use this book.
1. Statistical inquiry.
Making sense of experience.
What is statistics?
Descriptive and inferential statistics.
Collecting a sample.
2. Describing our sample.
Statistical variables.
Error, accuracy and approximations.
3. Summarizing our data.
Tables and diagrams.
Central tendency (averages).
Measures of dispersion.
4. The shape of a distribution.
Skewed distributions.
Introducing the normal distribution.
Proportions under the normal curve.
Comparing values.
5. From sample to population.
Estimates and inferences.
The logic of sampling.
A distribution of sample-means.
Estimating the population-mean.
Estimating other parameters.
6. Comparing samples.
From the same or different populations?
Significance testing.
The significance of significance.
Comparing dispersions.
Non-parametric methods.
7. Further matters of significance.
One- versus two-tailed tests.
z-tests and t-tests.
Comparing several means.
Comparing proportions.
8. Analysing relationships.
Paired values.
Three kinds of correlation.
The strength of a correlation.
The significance of a correlation coefficient.
Interpreting a correlation coefficient.
Prediction and regression.
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on October 14, 2002
I just read this book, although I originally purchased the it a number of years ago. I'm afraid my "math anxiety" kept me from reading it although my desire to conquer this stuff remained. Finally, working on a PhD I was again faced with quantitative methods which set me to the task again.
Reading this text non-stop was relatively painless and exceedingly enlightening. Rowntree at least 95% of the material very clear and understandable and avoided too many side trips to the theoretical. Suddenly, the information I was confronted with in class began to make sense given his "down-to-earth" explanations. However, he doesn't stray far from the theoretical and mathematical roots of the science of probability.
He takes the reader from the point of understanding we all do statistical analysis informally regardless of any coursework. From there, he proceeds through the fundamentals until reaching the essence of correlation and regression.
My first of two critiques would be that he leaves out some basic symbols in favor of simplicity. Yet these symbols could easily have remained in. This would have aided the transition from understanding to classroom work. Second, the price for the volume is extraordinary. The price is a clear disincentive. Although the knowledge is easily worth [more money], I'm afraid this reduces the number of readers for an extremely valuable primer.
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on November 24, 2001
As a computer software developer who has worked in a high tech manufacturing environment, I was exposed to statistical topics on a daily basis. I always got by without any problems, but I always regretted not taking a formal statistics class.
Given the positive reviews here, I purchased this book, thinking it would be a magic bullet. It isn't. I was sorely disappointed in the depth (and length) of the text.
However, the author achieves what he sets out to do -- create a readable statistics book without any mathematical formulas.
Rowntree's text does provide a good overview in very general and broad terms on statistical topics in layman's terms. It is consciously targeted towards non-mathematicians, and provides a great resource for understanding basic statistical topics. This book is for people who must casually digest and interpret statistics, and not for those of us who need to produce them.
This thin paperback is a relatively quick read. There are no exercises, just descriptive examples woven into the text, punctuated by a few questions.
Reading this won't make you pass a statistics final, nor will it make you an expert. It will, however, introduce you to a high level view of statistics.
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on November 22, 2000
I credit this book with helping me get through my doctoral stats course. Yes, I am Severely Mathematically Impaired and was terrified at getting through the required stats. Never mind that everyone said math wasn't part of it -- it was all absolute Greek to me. Then came the Rowntree Recommendation -- and the basic concepts in genuine basic English. No pointyheaded stuff. Clear, concise -- the perfect read PRIOR to the assigned text chapters (which were awful beyond comprehension!). The Stats experience was hideous -- until one day, verrrrry late in the semester, when all of a sudden, it all made sense. (Great prof, but I still credit this book.) I write this 17 years after the fact -- because I just recommended this book AGAIN book for a similarly scared person going for the MBA -- just one of several rec's over the years but decided to check and see if it's still in print. I have a paperback and was astounded at the price, but, quite frankly, anyone who is really angst-ridden and/or needs comfort in navigating the other-world of stats should get this book! [As necessary, I STILL refer to it -- I mean, who can remember all the nuances of this stuff? When I'm confronted now with interpretation, I do a quick review to regain my sense of content reality.] There may be a zillion newer books out there, but this one is really, really good for the Stats Scared/Math Impaired!
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on January 22, 2002
Derek Rowntree's book is truly a primer for non-mathematicians!
I "hated" stats!! Not really! The truth is I have been fearful of stats for a long long time. This is one statistics book that soon became my ally, helped me learn and/or revise the statistical concepts I needed to master, to pass the required research methods and statistics graduate level courses.
Don't misunderstand me; I could not escape the obvious! I had to put in the needed efforts. I learned because I was not afraid anymore to explore the contents; I could explore the contents because Derek's approach was not intimidating!!! I can't believe it, but "Statistics Without Tears" now allows me to keep my eyes open for situations when I can put the ideas to practical use. Go get 'em "non"-mathematicians!!!!!
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on August 4, 2002
For the cost, this book is 4 standard deviations from the mean of value. See, I learned something!
In all seriousness, the book does accomplish what its sets out to do: Explain the most basic concepts in stats in rather plain language and without the supporting derivations and equations. But, in the end it is useless to anyone but perhaps a high school student looking for an introduction. It takes nearly one-quarter of the book to finally arrive at definitions of grade school topics such as means, medians, and modes.
The treatment is so simple as to be insulting at times, and it lacks explanations of those topics that actually make stats complicated. Instead it sticks to simple half-baked explanations of topics that are simplistic to begin with.
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on July 18, 2001
I've always regretted not taking a stats course in college (I'm a computer software developer) and have been looking for a book to teach myself. My goal was to be able to apply statistics to everyday life, so I could better see through the ways that the media, politicians, and special interest groups try to twist numbers around.
I've borrowed a couple of college stats books from friends, and I must say I'm glad I never took the class in college. I finally found this book and it was perfect. If you figure the hourly cost of your time, this book is good compared to the amount of time you'd have to spend elsewhere trying to get just a basic grasp of this incredibly important subject. Heck, don't tell anyone, but I'd gladly pay $500 for this book...
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on November 4, 2000
I found this book very helpful to review statistical concepts when I was taking an Experimental Psychology course. It had been a while since I had studied stats and it was a good review. I have also been using it in a graduate statistics course I am now taking and have found it useful to read a topic in Statistics Without Tears before I read the textbook.
I also think this book would be good for people who do not need to do the math side of statistics but need to understand some basic concepts. For example, in an Introductory Research Methods or Introductory Survey methods course. Also, if you are using measurement instruments (like surveys, personality measures, etc.) and do not have any statistical training, you should at least read this book!
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on August 23, 1998
Derek Rowntree's Statistics Withuot Tears is an excellent primer on concepts in statistics, written in very easy-to-understand language. It has just enough mathematics in it to be useful as a reference without being opaque.
Several books I have read written for "non-mathematicians" have not fit the bill, but this book explains statistics in a way that an average person can understand.
A friend of mine says that he recommends this book to friends when they are having difficulty in college statistics courses; it is an excellent tool for explaining concepts in a subject that mathematics instructors sometimes do not explain well.
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on February 23, 2001
I've used this as a supplementary text in Kellogg's EMP (executive MBA) program for more than a decade. It offers nice perspectives on both estimation and hypothesis testing (the treatment of regression is very thin), in language aimed at managers rather than statisticians. The chatty ******* crossbars that mean "pause and try to come up with your own answer before reading further" work well. However, I was unaware until a few minutes ago how grossly overpriced it currently is (we buy in bulk, and give the book away to students), given that it's a relatively thin paperback. Check it out from a library! It's a fast read.
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