# Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics 5th Edition

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## Book Preface

Many behavioural and social science students (and researchers for that matter) despise statistics. Most of us have a non-mathematical background, which makes understanding complex statistical equations very difficult. Nevertheless, the evil goat-warriors of Satan force our non-mathematical brains to apply themselves to what is the very complex task of becoming a statistics expert. The end result, as you might expect, can be quite messy. The one weapon that we have is the computer, which allows us to neatly circumvent the considerable disability of not understanding mathematics. Computer programs such as IBM SPSS Statistics, SAS, R, JASP and the like provide an opportunity to teach statistics at a conceptual level without getting too bogged down in equations. The computer to a goat-warrior of Satan is like catnip to a cat: it makes them rub their heads along the ground and purr and dribble ceaselessly. The only downside of the computer is that it makes it really easy to make a complete idiot of yourself if you donâ€™t understand what youâ€™re doing. Using a computer without any statistical knowledge at all can be a dangerous thing. Hence this book.
My first aim is to strike a balance between theory and practice: I want to use the computer as a tool for teaching statistical concepts in the hope that you will gain a better understanding of both theory and practice. If you want theory and you like equations then there are certainly more technical books. However, if you want a stats book that also discusses digital rectal stimulation, then you have just spent your money wisely.
Too many books create the impression that there is a â€˜rightâ€™ and â€˜wrongâ€™ way to do statistics. Data analysis is more subjective than is often made out. Therefore, although I make recommendations, within the limits imposed by the senseless destruction of rainforests, I hope to give you enough background in theory to enable you to make your own decisions about how best to conduct your analysis.
A second (ridiculously ambitious) aim is to make this the only statistics book that youâ€™ll ever need to buy (sort of). Itâ€™s a book that I hope will become your friend from your first year at university right through to your professorship. The start of the book is aimed at first-year undergraduates (Chapters 1â€“10), and then we move onto second-year undergraduate-level material (Chapters 6, 9 and 11â€“16) before a dramatic climax that should keep postgraduates tickled (Chapters 17â€“21). There should be something for everyone in each chapter, and to help you gauge the difficulty of material, I flag the level of each section within each chapter (more on that later).
My final and most important aim is to make the learning process fun. I have a sticky history with maths. This extract is from my school report at the age of 11:
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The â€˜27=â€™ in the report is to say that I came equal 27th with another student out of a class of 29. Thatâ€™s pretty much bottom of the class. The 43 is my exam mark as a percentage. Oh dear. Four years later (at 15), this was my school report:
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The catalyst of this remarkable change was a good teacher: my brother, Paul. I owe my life as an academic to Paulâ€™s ability to teach me stuff in an engaging way â€“ something my maths teachers failed to do. Paulâ€™s a great teacher because he cares about bringing out the best in people, and he was able to make things interesting and relevant to me. Everyone should have a brother Paul to teach them stuff when theyâ€™re throwing their maths book at their bedroom wall, and I will attempt to be yours.
I strongly believe that people appreciate the human touch, and so I inject a lot of my own personality and sense of humour (or lack of) into Discovering Statistics Using â€¦ books. Many of the examples in this book, although inspired by some of the craziness that you find in the real world, are designed to reflect topics that play on the minds of the average student (i.e., sex, drugs, rock and roll, celebrity, people doing crazy stuff). There are also some examples that are there simply because they made me laugh. So, the examples are light-hearted (some have said â€˜smuttyâ€™, but I prefer â€˜light-heartedâ€™) and by the end, for better or worse, I think you will have some idea of what goes on in my head on a daily basis. I apologize to those who think itâ€™s crass, hate it, or think that Iâ€™m undermining the seriousness of science, but, come on, whatâ€™s not funny about a man putting an eel up his anus?
I never believe that I meet my aims, but previous editions have certainly been popular. I enjoy the rare luxury of having complete strangers emailing me to tell me how wonderful I am. (Admittedly, there are also emails accusing me of all sorts of unpleasant things, but Iâ€™ve usually got over them after a couple of months.) With every new edition, I fear that the changes I make will ruin my previous hard work. Letâ€™s see what youâ€™re going to get and whatâ€™s different this time around.

What do you get for your money?