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About this book

Awarded the 2019 Most Promising New Textbook Award by the Textbook & Academic Authors Association.
This accessible and entertaining new textbook provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand the barrage of numbers encountered in their everyday lives and studies. Almost all the statistics in the news, on social media or in scientific reports are based on just a few core concepts, including measurement (ensuring we count the right thing), causation (determining whether one thing causes another) and sampling (using just a few people to understand a whole population). By explaining these concepts in plain language, without complex mathematics, this book prepares students to meet the statistical world head on and to begin their own quantitative research projects.
Ideal for students facing statistical research for the first time, or for anyone interested in understanding more about the numbers in the news, this textbook helps students to see beyond the headlines and behind the numbers.

Table of Contents

1. 99% of Statistics are made up

Abstract
On 13 November 2015, 130 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Paris.
Robert de Vries

2. Where do Numbers Come From?

Abstract
There is a powerful force abroad in the world. It affects people’s nervous systems, changing the structure of their brains – altering how they think and feel.
Robert de Vries

3. SAMPLES, SAMPLES EVERYWHERE …

Abstract
In the thousands of pages of fact and opinion churned out by the media every day, headlines like this are ten a penny.
Robert de Vries

4. MEASURE FOR MEASURE

Abstract
People on the left of the political spectrum often point to Sweden as something close to an ideal society.
Robert de Vries

5. What Does it Mean to be Average?

Abstract
I learned about averages at school when I was around ten.
Robert de Vries

6. Fraction of a Man

Abstract
In the previous chapter we dealt with the question of averages.
Robert de Vries

7. Cause and Effect

Abstract
I have a confession to make. I am addicted to newspaper advice columns.
Robert de Vries

8. Bad Graphics

Abstract
I’m hoping that by this point in the book you are starting to develop a taste for spotting dodgy statistics.
Robert de Vries

9. Context is Everything

Abstract
On 3 June 2017 three men drove a van into a crowd on London Bridge, killing three people.
Robert de Vries

10. Do it Yourself

Abstract
In April 2013 PolitiFact journalist Louis Jacobson wanted to know if it was true that almost all American felons had grown up in households without a father.
Robert de Vries
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