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Elementary Concepts in Statistics

Elementary Concepts in Statistics
In this introduction, we will briefly discuss those elementary statistical concepts that provide the necessary foundations for more specialized expertise in any area of statistical data analysis. The selected topics illustrate the basic assumptions of most statistical methods and/or have been demonstrated in research to be necessary components of our general understanding of the "quantitative nature" of reality (Nisbett, et al., 1987). We will focus mostly on the functional aspects of the concepts discussed and the presentation will be very short. Further information on each of the concepts can be found in statistical textbooks. Recommended introductory textbooks are: Kachigan (1986), and Runyon and Haber (1976); for a more advanced discussion of elementary theory and assumptions of statistics, see the classic books by Hays (1988), and Kendall and Stuart (1979). What are Variables? Variables are things that we measure, control, or manipulate in research. Correlational vs. Dependent vs.

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