Analysing how we tick is no mean feat

Introduction to Statistics in Psychology. Authors Dennis Howitt and Duncan Cramer. Edition Fourth. Publisher Pearson Education. Pages 560. Price £27.99. ISBN 9780132051613.

May 22, 2008

From the title of this book readers may think that this is simply a text aimed at introductory statistics courses within psychology, but this is not the case. Introduction to Statistics in Psychology is broad in its scope, providing readers with information on a range of statistical techniques that extend beyond those typically covered in first-year undergraduate courses. For example, the topics covered include advanced correlational statistics, meta-analysis, log-linear methods and multinomial logistic regression. However, these topics are not covered at the expense of other less advanced and less sophisticated statistics. The text also provides clear and comprehensive chapters on descriptive statistics, significance testing and analysis of variance. In addition there are chapters on a selection of non-parametric tests and non-parametric tests with large sample sizes.

The chapters are clear throughout, and there are worked examples for each of the statistics presented. Also, to facilitate understanding of the sometimes relatively complex statistics, the calculations are broken down and presented in a series of manageable steps. Help is also given on how to interpret and present the results. Clear explanations of the theoretical underpinnings of the statistical tests are presented alongside to allow readers to develop their conceptual understanding at the same time as their practical experience. Therefore, not only are readers guided on how to perform the statistics but also on how to interpret what their results reveal. On top of this, the authors also provide examples from the psychological literature to illustrate how the statistics can be applied. By providing readers with this balanced and engaging information it becomes clear how the results of statistics relate to the wider research process within psychology.

The book is well written in an attractive manner that guides readers through the complexities of calculating, interpreting and understanding statistics. One possible weakness is that there is little coverage of the statistics package SPSS or the research methods. However, where appropriate, key advice is given on research design issues and how these affect statistics. Furthermore, Dennis Howitt and Duncan Cramer have written accompanying books that address both the topics of SPSS and research methods and links to these texts are made throughout. Introduction to Statistics in Psychology also comes with access to a companion website and an accompanying CD to support readers while they are working with the text.

Overall, this excellent, student-friendly text introduces readers to a range of simple and more advanced statistical techniques while ensuring that they develop an understanding of the underlying processes and are competent in calculating and interpreting statistics.

Who is it for? Students studying both introductory and advanced statistics.

Presentation - Clear, engaging and very student-friendly.

Would you recommend it? Definitely. A comprehensive text that students could use during their first degree and beyond.

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