Statistical Thinking through Media Examples

(Second Edition)
By Anthony Donoghue
©2020, 280 pages

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    Statistical Thinking through Media Examples uses real-world examples from various media to give students an introduction to fundamentals of statistical thinking. Unlike many standard texts in the discipline, the book focuses on conceptual understanding – the meaning behind mathematical calculations rather than the calculations themselves.

    Written in accessible language, the book begins by discussing the importance of learning how to assess the quality of research results presented by the media. This understanding creates an essential context for subsequent chapters on questioning study design including polls and surveys, reasoning with variation in data measurements, understanding probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and linear regression. Students also learn how statistics can be misused and manipulated by researchers to provide a desired result.

    The second edition features new coverage of select topics, including ANOVA, Chi-Square tests, and multiple linear regression. Every chapter references online resources or includes in-depth discussion to draw connections between statistical concepts and media examples, such as studies on alcohol consumption and cardiovascular health, American football and brain injury, public mass shootings, dishonesty in scientific research, and more.

    Statistical Thinking through Media Examples is an ideal resource for any course that deals with introductory statistics, particularly those in the health and social sciences, journalism, and business.

    Anthony Donoghue earned his master's degree in statistics at University College Dublin and has worked as a professional statistician in both Ireland and the United States. Currently, he works as a consultant in New York, providing statistics and programming expertise and training. He is also a statistics faculty member at both Columbia University and New York University, where he teaches statistical computing, statistics, and statistical thinking.
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    Adopting instructors will receive two sample syllabi, an adoption letter, 19 PowerPoint presentations, and 7 video tutorials that cover statistical thinking; basic statistical concepts; visualizing and summarizing variation in quantitative data; visualizing and summarizing sample statistics; making statistical decisions with confidence intervals and hypothesis testing; and integrity in research.
    Reviews of First Edition:

    "The material is presented in the best style and depth, and is written in the clearest, explanatory way I have ever seen in 33 years in the field of statistics. Throughout the book, Donoghue states all necessary rationales, procedures, underlying logic, and interpretations of the results by providing various concrete real-life examples. Furthermore, he implements a step-by-step approach both computationally and logically to not only make the statistical novices most comfortable in a non-threatening manner, but also promote their learning and knowledge to a much larger extent. His approach is indeed essential for the future of statistics education. His book will most definitely help students develop their scientific literacy and quantitative reasoning skills in every possible way. In short, Donoghue provides the first truly credible statistics text in the area of Media communication. Bravo!!"
    Eiki Satake, Ph.D.
    Full Professor of Statistics and Mathematics, Institutes for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College

    ”Finally—a book about statistics that sorts through the highfalutin jargon and makes this field accessible to us all. Professor Donoghue uses examples from the media that we can all relate to, while sprinkling in the mathematics and scientific explanations. Science writers need a copy by their side as they weed through the scientific journals. Students need one to appreciate p values and medians and means. Here’s the thing: We’ll never know all the facts but if you understand statistics, you will be able to pinpoint what you know, appreciate what you don’t know, and make the best predictions about new therapies and devices. As close to forecasting as you can.”
    Randi Hutter Epstein, MD, MPH, Writer in Residence at Yale Medical School, Adjunct Professor at Columbia School of Journalism, Author of Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything

    “The author presents basic statistical principals with many, strong, detailed real world media examples. The source documents, media examples, are completely referenced. Through the media examples, the reader is able to see the correct application of the statistical theory and tools and also understand how statistics can be misused to analyze data. The media examples strongly increase one’s understanding of the statistical principals.”
    Guy Cohen, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University

    “Anthony Donoghue’s lovely book brings a fresh new perspective to standard introductory statistics curriculum. His explanations are clear and concise but the real power of the text is the connection to high-profile real-world applications. Earlier texts by Moore and by Utts have succeeded in this vein, but Donoghue has an eye for the kind of bang up-to-date story that will really engage students."
    David Madigan, EVP and Dean of the Faculty of Art and Sciences (Former Chair of the Department of Statistics), Columbia University

    "Statistics is the art of dealing with uncertainty. It may be taught through hard mathematical proofs, or by soft intuition. Anthony Donoghue has the rare gift of mastering both, and uses his great imagination to make them accessible to anyone. In a world in which mass media are displacing Gutenberg's galaxy, the clearness of this book reminds us that statistics have become as useful and necessary today, as reading and writing in the past."
    Willibald Sonnleitner, Research Professor, El Colegio de México

    “This text is a treasure trove of motivating examples for teaching statistics. The examples motivate good sampling designs and surveys, the consequences of ignoring key assumptions, and reading media reports of science with skepticism. This book is a worthy read for statistics teachers and professors who want to wow their students with important media examples.”
    Clifford Spiegelman, Distinguished Professor of Statistics and University Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University, Senior Research Scientist at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute

    “This lovely book uses vivid media examples to illustrate the fundamental ideas of statistics. The author is passionate about statistics and its connections to the real world. He carefully chooses examples from medicine, politics and other areas, and critically examines them using powerful statistical concepts. Through media examples, statistics is not only an abstract subject of purely academic interest but also a perspective for us to understand phenomena in our everyday life. This book can be a nice introductory text for students. It is also a source of examples for my own teaching.”
    Peng Deng, University of California, Berkeley
    Read the book review of the first edition in the International Journal of Communication.

    Read the New York Times article "Does Stress Actually Affect Fertility?" in which Anthony Donoghue weighs in on key studies on the topic.