Statistics in Plain English  book cover
4th Edition

Statistics in Plain English

ISBN 9781138838345
Published July 25, 2016 by Routledge
286 Pages 90 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This introductory textbook provides an inexpensive, brief overview of statistics to help readers gain a better understanding of how statistics work and how to interpret them correctly. Each chapter describes a different statistical technique, ranging from basic concepts like central tendency and describing distributions to more advanced concepts such as t tests, regression, repeated measures ANOVA, and factor analysis. Each chapter begins with a short description of the statistic and when it should be used. This is followed by a more in-depth explanation of how the statistic works. Finally, each chapter ends with an example of the statistic in use, and a sample of how the results of analyses using the statistic might be written up for publication. A glossary of statistical terms and symbols is also included. Using the author’s own data and examples from published research and the popular media, the book is a straightforward and accessible guide to statistics.

New features in the fourth edition include:

  • sets of work problems in each chapter with detailed solutions and additional problems online to help students test their understanding of the material,
  • new "Worked Examples" to walk students through how to calculate and interpret the statistics featured in each chapter,
  • new examples from the author’s own data and from published research and the popular media to help students see how statistics are applied and written about in professional publications,
  • many more examples, tables, and charts to help students visualize key concepts, clarify concepts, and demonstrate how the statistics are used in the real world.
  • a more logical flow, with correlation directly preceding regression, and a combined glossary appearing at the end of the book,
  • a Quick Guide to Statistics, Formulas, and Degrees of Freedom at the start of the book, plainly outlining each statistic and when students should use them,
  • greater emphasis on (and description of) effect size and confidence interval reporting, reflecting their growing importance in research across the social science disciplines
  • an expanded website at with PowerPoint presentations, chapter summaries, a new test bank, interactive problems and detailed solutions to the text’s work problems, SPSS datasets for practice, links to useful tools and resources, and videos showing how to calculate statistics, how to calculate and interpret the appendices, and how to understand some of the more confusing tables of output produced by SPSS.

Statistics in Plain English, Fourth Edition is an ideal guide for statistics, research methods, and/or for courses that use statistics taught at the undergraduate or graduate level, or as a reference tool for anyone interested in refreshing their memory about key statistical concepts. The research examples are from psychology, education, and other social and behavioral sciences.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to Social Science Research and Terminology. 2. Measures of Central Tendency. 3. Measures of Variability. 4. The Normal Distribution. 5. Standardization and z Scores. 6. Standard Errors. 7. Statistical Significance, Effect Size, Confidence Intervals. 8. t Tests. 9. One-Way Analysis of Variance. 10. Factorial Analysis of Variance. 11. Repeated-Measures Analysis of Variance. 12. Correlation. 13. Regression. 14. The Chi-Square Test of Independence. 15. Factor Analysis and Reliability Analysis: Data Reduction Techniques. Appendices.

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Timothy C. Urdan is a Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University.


"Urdan’s text provides exactly the right depth of information needed to understand statistical concepts from both a theoretical and practical perspective. His style of writing is extremely engaging and helpful as he balances his explanations of theory and analyses with many real world examples that help situate the practical application of the concepts and analyses."- Robyn Cooper, Drake University, USA

"The book explains clearly many concepts in statistics and is written in an unintimidating and readable style. Both undergraduate and graduate students will find it helpful as an introduction to statistics."- Bridget Sheng, Western Illinois University, USA

"This is a straight-forward and yet comprehensive treatment, providing students with a basic understanding of statistics in the social sciences without bogging them down with too many
equations and complex examples."
- Robert M. Bernard, Concordia University, USA

"I know of no textbook on the market that even comes close to satisfying breadth of coverage/content readability/value for price point as does the Urdan text. … My students continually tell me it is very helpful and easy to understand. … . … The Website is a very useful tool … Urdan writes very clearly and explains concepts at a level that is appropriate for multiple audiences, including undergraduate, graduate, and even academic audiences … I like that Urdan uses a variety of examples as opposed to competing texts that limit their examples to specific disciplines." – Catherine A. Roster, University of New Mexico, USA

"It is very clear and where ever possible uses normal, plain English.... Simple terms are preferred to jargon and where key terms are introduced they are done so clearly. ... The online support materials ... provide useful additional tools for both students and lecturers. ... From the examples used it seems to be aimed at a variety of social science students … Psychology, Childhood and Youth and Crime Studies. ... I would like to use the book and would encourage students to do so. It contains a lot they need to know in order to understand … statistical tests."Nick Lund, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

"Problem sets ... [are] a welcome addition. ... The interactive analyses, podcasts, PowerPoints and test questions are all a positive. ... The author understands the material quite well and does a good job explaining terms and concepts. ... The pedagogical aids ... trump ... what exists currently for adoption."Nicholas Corsaro, University of Cincinnati, USA

"I really like the ‘writing it up section’. I think that adds a lot to what my students need in regards to statistics. … This … text will be purchased by people needing a baseline level of statistical knowledge. … … I enjoyed the text and writing style. … The book would be beneficial to the students. … Mr. Urdan does not attempt to take it too deep and keeps the book succinct enough to make it usable in a beginner stats class."Andrew Tinsley, Eastern Kentucky University, USA

“I am highly impressed with the latest edition (4th) of Tim Urdan's wonderful text. This author continues to deliver a highly readable yet nuanced text on research methods and fundamental statistics. I use this book in a number of graduate courses for clinical psychology students. It would also serve advanced undergraduates. In addition to clear writing and covering all the basics, I believe another essential strength is the author's commitment to training minds for critical thinking.”  Jamie K. Lilie, Argosy University, USA

"As well as an excellent learning guide at post graduate level, it is also a good reference tool for anyone interested in refreshing their memory on key statistical concepts." - Jeff Thomas, The Journal of the International and UK Societies of Play and Creative Arts Therapies