Introductory Business Statistics (OpenStax)
Posted: January 12, 2018 | Updated: December 1, 2020
Author: Alexander Holmes, Barbara Illowsky, Susan Dean
Introductory Business Statistics is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of the one-semester statistics course for business, economics, and related majors. Core statistical concepts and skills have been augmented with practical business examples, scenarios, and exercises. The result is a meaningful understanding of the discipline, which will serve students in their business careers and real-world experiences.
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Introductory Business Statistics (OpenStax) by Alexander Holmes, Barbara Illowsky, Susan Dean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
3.3 / 5
Veda Roodal Persad
Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
The textbook covers the usual content of an introductory statistics course in the usual sequence except for the Chapter on Correlation and Regression which generally comes earlier in the treatment.
The Index is problematic in that it is case sensitive so different page numbers for
binomial distribution/Binomial Distribution/Binomial Probability Distribution, histogram/Histogram, empirical rule/Empirical Rule, qualitative data, Qualitative Data, etc.
There is no Glossary at the back of the textbook. Note that the word Glossary appears in the Contents in the pdf but not in the Chapters which have Key Terms at the end.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
For the most part, the content is accurate. However, there are several errors with respect to exposition and emphasis. One point of contention is the formula-based emphasis. From the Preface: “Introductory Business Statistics places a significant emphasis on the development and practical application of formulas, so that students have a deeper understanding of their interpretation and application of data.” This would be a much better book had there been an emphasis on the development and practical applications of concepts.
The layout is spare to the point of being spartan. There is no mention of why this is a Business Stat textbook as opposed to a regular Stat textbook. This book would be better served with writing that considers the bigger picture, as it were, and with writing that invites the reader along (why are we doing this again?). The material is presented in a very dry, here-are-the-facts fashion.
The Table of Contents does not indicate the resources at the end of each chapter, namely,
Key Terms/Chapter Review/Homework/References/Solutions so the last section in the Chapter looks longer than it is.
Homework questions are given by Section. There are not enough Chapter questions that give the student an opportunity to synthesize and to do a question without knowing which specific section applies.
Content Accuracy Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
The content is relevant and can easily be updated with examples that relate to business/economics/finance, etc.
Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
The exposition in places is weak and inaccurate. The prose is accessible, but the explanations are sparse. There are many cases where the facts are laid out and then an example is given when it would have worked better to give a situation and set the scene, as it were. There are places where a term is used and only defined after.
Clarity Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
The textbook is for the most part consistent. Some of the section headings are not consistent. An example is that of Homework/Bringing it together: Homework/Bringing it together: Practice.
Consistency Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
The textbook is laid out in Chapters with sections which can easily be reorganized according to the topics required in a given course.
Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
The quality and flow of the exposition is easily the weakest aspect of the book. In places the exposition is either inaccurate or not expansive enough or it does not flow well. An example is in Chapter 3 where the Venn diagrams in Section 3.5 come too late and would be much better placed early on to illustrate the sample space and events in the sample space.
Organization Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
The textbook is clearly laid-out for the most part (one case of a Heading on the last line of a page) and there are no navigation problems.
Interface Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
There are quite a few grammatical errors. There are typos as well as questionable word choices and expressions.
Grammar Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
There is some attempt to aim for diversity and inclusion, e.g. use of the names, Rosa, Binh, and Mrs. Ramirez. The word, Sex, is used as a variable when it should be Gender, which is no longer binary. The variables of Race and Ethnicity are a little problematic in that it is hard to get clear categories.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
Anyone who considers this book would most likely be aware of the open textbook Introductory Statistics (IS) published in 2013. This book (IBS) was published in 2017 and is mostly based on IS. There has been some attempt to modify the examples such as with real estate prices and to include sections relevant to economics and finance such as on the geometric mean.
This book has one huge advantage that outweighs all the other considerations in that it is open and freely accessible. However, its bare-bones style and presentation as well as its minimal recognition and awareness of the reader/audience reduce its appeal, and hence its likelihood of being recommended. The hard part is that with just a little more on the exposition and layout it could be a much better book. After much reflection on the pros and cons, on balance I recommend this book, if only by the barest of margins.