Statistical Misconceptions : Classic Edition book cover
1st Edition

Statistical Misconceptions
Classic Edition

ISBN 9781138120075
Published December 2, 2015 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

This engaging book helps readers identify and then discard 52 misconceptions about data and statistical summaries. The focus is on major concepts contained in typical undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics, research methods, or quantitative analysis. Interactive Internet exercises that further promote undoing the misconceptions are found on the book's website.

The author’s accessible discussion of each misconception has five parts:

The Misconception - a brief description of the misunderstanding

Evidence that the Misconception Exists – examples and claimed prevalence

Why the Misconception is Dangerous – consequence of having the misunderstanding

Undoing the Misconception - how to think correctly about the concept

Internet Assignment - an interactive activity to help readers gain a firm grasp of the statistical concept and overcome the misconception.

The book's statistical misconceptions are grouped into 12 chapters that match the topics typically taught in introductory/intermediate courses. However, each of the 52 discussions is self-contained, thus allowing the misconceptions to be covered in any order without confusing the reader. Organized and presented in this manner, the book is an ideal supplement for any standard textbook.

An ideal supplement for undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics, research methods, or quantitative analysis taught in psychology, education, business, nursing, medicine, and the social sciences. The book also appeals to independent researchers interested in undoing their statistical misconceptions.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Classic Edition.  Part 1. Descriptive Statistics.  1.1. Measures of Central Tendency.  1.2. The Mean of Means.  1.3. The Mode’s Location.  1.4. The Standard Deviation.  Part 2. Distributional Shape.  2.1. The Shape of the Normal Curve.  2.2. Skewed Distributions and Measures of Central Tendency.  2.3. Standard Scores and Normality.  2.4. Rectangular Distributions and Kurtosis.  Part 3. Bivariate Correlation.  3.1. Correlation Coefficients.  3.2. Correlation and Causality.  3.3. The Effect of a Single Outlier on Pearson’s r.  3.4. Relationship Strength and r.  3.5. The Meaning of r = 0.  Part 4. Reliability and Validity.  4.1. Statistical Indices of Reliability and Validity.  4.2. Interrater Reliability.  4.3. Cronbach’s Alpha and Unidimensionality.  4.4. Range Restriction and Predictive Validity.  Part 5. Probability.  5.1. The Binomial Distribution and N.  5.2. A Random Walk With a Perfectly Fair Coin.  5.3. Two Goats and a Car.  5.4. Identical Birthdays.  5.5. The Sum of an Infinite Number of Numbers.  5.6.Being Diagnosed With a Rare Disease.  5.7. Risk Ratios and Odds Ratios.  Part 6. Sampling.  6.1.The Character of Random Samples.  6.2. Random Replacements When Sampling.  6.3 Precision and the Sampling Fraction.  6.4. Matched Samples.  6.5. Finite Versus Infinite Populations.  Part 7. Estimation.  7.1. Interpreting a Confidence Interval.  7.2. Overlapping Confidence Intervals.  7.3. The Mean ± the Standard Error.  7.4. Confidence Intervals and Replication.  Part 8. Hypothesis Testing.  8.1. Alpha and Type I Error Risk.  8.2. The Null Hypothesis.  8.3.Disproving Ho.  8.4. The Meaning of p.  8.5. Directionality and Tails.  8.6. The Relationship Between Alpha and Beta Errors.  Part 9. t-Tests Involving One or Two Means.  9.1.Correlated t-Tests.  9.2. The Difference Between Two Means If p < .00001.  9.3. The Robustness of a t-Test When n1 = n2.  Part 10. ANOVA and ANCOVA.  10.1. Pairwise Comparisons.  10.2. The Cause of a Significant Interaction.  10.3. Equal Covariate Means in ANCOVA.  Part 11. Practical Significance, Power, and Effect Size.  11.1. Statistical Significance Versus Practical Significance.  11.2. A Priori and Post Hoc Power.  11.3. Eta Squared and Partial Eta Squared. Part 12. Regression.  12.1. Comparing Two rs; Comparing Two bs.  12.2. R2.  12.3. Predictor Variables that Are Uncorrelated with Y.  12.4. Beta Weights.

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Schuyler W. Huck is Distinguished Professor and Chancellor's Teaching Scholar at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. A prolific author on improving statistical instruction and helping consumers decipher research reports, his publications have been cited in over 337 journals.


"Statistical Misconceptions ... covers important information that other texts do not: understanding the misconceptions and not making decisions based on the misconceptions is extremely important in order to utilize statistics in helpful and meaningful ways. The writing style is very clear and concise being at an accessible level to both undergraduate and graduate students. ... This text ... has significantly contributed to the literature. Huck’s text has been used as a supplement in statistics courses to help students learn correct understandings of the different statistics. … The book is grounded in current application and has assisted many researchers, students, and statisticians in understanding important aspects of statistics."Nancy Leech, University of Denver, USA

"Using a five-step approach, Schuyler Huck skillfully dispels 52 common statistical misconceptions on descriptive as well as inferential statistics. It is a valuable book for both instructors -- for detecting where and how misconceptions might arise -- and students -- to strengthen their correct understanding of key statistical concepts. … The "undoing the misconception" step is very effective in helping to consolidate the correct grasp of concepts. … In sum, Huck's book is a great book for everyone." - Carla Martins, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal