A Guide to Data and Statistics
Why let other people explain the world to you?
From news reporting on elections or unfolding political crises to everyday advertising, you are confronted with statistics. Rather than being swayed by bad arguments and questionable correlations, this book introduces you to the most common and contemporary statistical methods so that you can better understand the world. It's not about mindless number crunching or flashy techniques but about knowing when to use statistics as the best means to analyse a problem.
Whether you want to answer:
“Who is most likely to turn out and vote at the next election?”
“What accounts for some political conflicts escalating to war?”
you’ll explore what can and can’t be done with statistics, and how to select the most appropriate statistical techniques and correctly interpret the results.
Perhaps you simply want to understand enough to pass your statistics class and move on. Maybe you want to build your knowledge so that you are not excluded from research and debate. Or it could be the first step towards more advanced study. Whatever your goal, this book guides you through the journey, empowering you to confidently interact with statistics to make you a more formidable student, employee, and democratic citizen.
Written in clear, engaging and entertaining way, this indispensable book offers students everything they need to master the fundamentals of political analysis, offering an accessible entry-point to what is often an intimidating topic. This will be top of my next syllabus!
Explanations are clear, illustrations well chosen, and language simple but precise. Intuition is praised without sacrificing rigour. Equations are kept to the minimum but all essential statistical concepts are covered. This is a very good foundational textbook, best for undergraduate-level beginners in Data Analysis, in Political Science and probably beyond. It would work well as an accompaniment to a class, yet its style is fluid and colourful enough to be just as suitable for independent reading. Piqued by the growing Data Science approach, and by the realisation of its own past excesses, Political Data Analysis teaching is gently but surely moving away from what Loveless rightly names the "heavy hammer" of econometrics. This experienced teacher contributes nicely to that move in this new textbook.
Loveless provides a clear and highly approachable introduction to use of data and statistics for answering social science questions. Political Analysis offers a valuable guide for budding quantitative methodologists on their journey from the foundations of scientific inquiry and research design to descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. It will appeal to newcomers and more advanced students alike, written in a way that alleviates any anxiety about learning statistics.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter 1- The Scientific Method and Statistics (Sample)