Reviews

Introduction to the Practice of Statistics

This is a very well-written and beautifully presented book. It is north American in origin and, while it will be invaluable for teachers of statistics to nurses and other healthcare professionals, it is probably not suitable for many preor post-registration students in health in the UK. The material is quite advanced and, while well illustrated, exemplified and with numerous examples for students, it takes a fairly mathematical approach in places. Nevertheless, the book has much to commend it, including a CD-ROM package containing tutorials, a statistical package, solutions based on the exercises in the text and case studies.

If students are able to read between the lines of equations and other aspects of statistics that abound, the early chapters on the basics of statistics, presenting data and fundamental aspects of statistics, they will gain much from it. Where they may find difficulty is in actually finding out how to run a particular text; I read the chapters on regression and ANOVA and found them hard to follow from this point of view (I am not a trained statistician). UK students are most likely to use SPSS in their teaching and practice of statistics and the package that accompanies the book and the examples of data output are not related to SPSS and this may further reduce the relevance of the book in the UK.

The book has two very useful features that I have not seen before. Following the contents there is a key to the examples and

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If students are able to read between the lines of equations and other aspects of statistics that abound, the early chapters on the basics of statistics, presenting data and fundamental aspects of statistics, they will gain much from it. Where they may find difficulty is in actually finding out how to run a particular text; I read the chapters on regression and ANOVA and found them hard to follow from this point of view (I am not a trained statistician). UK students are most likely to use SPSS in their teaching and practice of statistics and the package that accompanies the book and the examples of data output are not related to SPSS and this may further reduce the relevance of the book in the UK.

The book has two very useful features that I have not seen before. Following the contents there is a key to the examples and exercise categorising them under headings such as biology and environmental science, business and management and public health and nutrition. In fact, there are very few health-related examples and, from experience, nursing students like to have examples they can relate to when they are being taught statistics. The second unique feature is a page preceding each chapter in which someone in the field (of a variety of areas of commerce and industry) explains how useful statistics is to them. These pages are accompanied by colour photographs of the person explaining the application, and this serves to add some life to this otherwise dry subject.

For any lecturers keen to adopt this text there is a full range of printed supplements, a common feature of north American texts, and a wide range of electronic supplements available including software that can be attached to the online teaching packages Blackboard and WebCT.

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