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Keywords: Statistics, regression, probability, mathematics
Title: Stats: Data and Models
Authors: Richard D. De Veaux, Paul Velleman and David E. Bock
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Media: Book, CD
Verdict: Highly recommended
Intro Stats is one of our favourite statistics texts, as our review made plain at the time. It was therefore something of a pleasant surprise to receive this chunky tome. Given that two of the three authors of this book were responsible for the Intro Stats it should be no surprise that a similarly high quality has been achieved in this volume.
No prior knowledge of statistics is assumed, and the book is aimed squarely on the student embarking on a statistics course for the first time. Starting with the absolute basics the book manages to cover a wide range of statistical material - from the basics of standard deviation right through to an introduction to analysis of variance (ANOVA), two-way analysis of variance and an intro to multiple regression. In this respect this book manages to go further than Intro Stats.
The approach is decidedly informal without necessarily sacrificing rigour. There's a real emphasis on instilling understanding - it's the concepts that are important. The authors do an excellent job here. Rather than simply giving a series of pre-defined recipes for the student to follow they explain at every stage what is going on and why. The worked examples work, it's as simple as that. The importance of looking at the data is repeated like a mantra throughout the book.
The informal tone and the worked examples do not mean that this is a book that is free of mathematics. Again in contrast to Intro Stats there is more math on display, with side-bars and additional material peppered through the text. Those who aren't interested in the math can easily skip these self-contained sections without getting lost later on in the text. Mathematical proofs and derivations are not the be-all and end-all of this book, it's the application of statistics that is the aim and that is where most of the attention is focused.
The book comes with a CD containing the ActiveStats package. This is a multi-media package that complements the text and adds some hands-on tools to help consolidate the material in the book. The chance to play with some data can make all the difference. Concepts that are a bit hazy can become a whole lot clearer when data can be manipulated in real-time and the results examined.
In addition to the friendly tone of the writing, mention must also be made of the high standard of design. The book is well laid out, with good use of colour, graphics and charts. This, together with the text, makes for an interesting and useful volume. While it's not aimed at the general reader in the way that Statistics for Dummies is, this is still a book that can be recommended to the interested reader as well as the stats student.
As with Intro Stats, this is a book that we highly recommend.