Statistics Using Technology - Third Edition
Posted: September 20, 2021 | Updated: May 9, 2022
Author: Kathryn Kozak
This is an introductory Statistics Textbook for first year college courses. This book places data at the center of the course. It also uses the statistical package R, though you can use another statistical computer package if you wish.
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Statistics Using Technology - Third Edition by Kathryn Kozak is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
3.1 / 5
Daniel A.J. Ryan
Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
The text covers a breadth of topics that are appropriate for an introductory statistics course, but the coverage is superficial and does not include some topics that are commonly included. For example, there are some simple discrete and continuous distributions that could be easily introduced. Adding these topics would provide an instructor flexibility in choosing which topics to include in a semester long course.
The title suggests a focus on statistics, with technology as a supporting platform. However, the concentration is on the use of the statistical software package R, for calculations, rather than using technology to facilitate the understanding of statistical concepts. The author includes R code as well as R output and data code books. The author assumes that the reader is familiar with the R environment, and does not provide a basic introduction to R.
The text could be significantly improved by using R to support the readers development of statistical reasoning, and moving much of the R code, and code books to an appendix, and include a short introduction to using R.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
The author presents the material in a casual, non-rigorous manner. While largely easy to read, the rigor required to clearly differentiate statistical concepts is not evident and foundational concepts are not clearly described.
There are also some significant errors. As one example, the author at various times uses both the correct interpretation of a confidence interval, which is referred to as the “Statistical Interpretation” in the text, and then includes the incorrect interpretation of a confidence interval, which is referred to as the “Real World Interpretation”. The implication is that there is a theoretical interpretation, and one used in practice. In fact, there is only one interpretation (from the frequentist point of view, but that is another discussion). A second example is the author’s definition of the population regression line, which does not include a random error term, which is important as it gives rise to the basis for the estimator of the intercept and slope that are presented in the text, as well as the concept of a residual.
A novice user of the text is not likely to identify the errors, but a user of the text who is familiar with statistics may be frustrated by the errors, and unclear descriptions and would quickly lose confidence in the text.
Content Accuracy Rating: 2 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 fundamental topics covered in the text are timeless and important elements of an introductory statistics course. However, the treatment of statistics is dated. The Author focuses much of the effort on the inclusion of examples, which can be a very useful and effective approach. However, the author focuses the readers’ attention and efforts on calculations rather than concepts and fails to integrate the effective use of data visualization throughout the text. Significant work is required to update the text to concentrate on concepts rather than calculations, correct errors and better integrate the use of data visualization.
Relevance Rating: 2 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
The text is written with accessible language, and for the most part technical terms and concepts are defined and described, though as noted earlier, there are some issues with accuracy and clarity of descriptions.
Clarity Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
Both the internal and external consistency of the text is weak. Throughout the text, the author is occasionally inconsistent, using different terms for the same concepts. This can cause confusion when there is no link or warning that different terms may be used interchangeably. Finally, some issues with consistency occur when the author recommends that the reader ignore statistical concepts that had been presented earlier in the text, without sufficient context or explanation.
There is also a concern with external consistency. With some of the errors in the text, and inconsistency in terms, a user of this text may be confused when using other statistical texts.
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 modularity is reasonable.
Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
The flow is reasonable and follows a standard approach to the introduction of statistical concepts. However, this flow is interrupted by the inclusion of an excessive number of code book output. Most of these could be moved to an appendix which would improve the flow of the narrative.
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 interface was fine.
Interface Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
There are some grammatical errors, and spelling errors.
Grammar Rating: 4 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
The text includes many real examples, but the author makes no special efforts in terms of diversity or inclusion. From my perspective there a small number of instances where the language may be considered offensive to some.
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?
Overall, I would not recommend this text be adopted.
The main reason is that the text contains significant errors in key concepts, and in those concepts that are correctly presented, the author concentrates more on R code and interpreting results rather than concepts. The informal nature of the narrative also fails to aid the user in understanding the concepts, and in some cases may confuse them.