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Thread: Stats texts that are useful to planners

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Stats texts that are useful to planners

    Based upon your experience, are there any introductory to intermediate stats texts out there that you
    have found useful in getting a handle on the statistics applied in practice in urban planning, Thanks!

  2. #2
    I used this one in my MPP program: Applied Statistics for Public and Nonprofit Administration. It's organized in the textbook style, but it's pretty good since it gives you case studies or situations and what you need to know to solve an administration or policy problem. We also used Statistics for People Who Hate Statistics, and while many others liked it, I found it a little too silly in how it presented things.

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    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    I found Earl Babbie's "The Practice of Social Research" to be very useful. I still refer to it 12 years later. It's a good source for explanations of statistical concepts using words and examples, and covers both quantitative and qualitative research. Its fault is its breadth of coverage, as sometimes it leaves you wanting more details on how to perform a specific analysis.

    I also use "Statistics for the Utterly Confused" by Lloyd Jaisingh. Not as good as Babbie, but sometimes it's useful. It has lots of examples but not much descriptive explanation.

    Both of the above books assume you are using a computer to process your statistical calculations. So, for old-school cred I have "A Primer on Statistics for Non-Statisticians" by Abraham Franzblau, copyright 1958. It assumes that you will be performing your calculations on paper, so its explanations are often more involved. It makes me think of the old days when everyone had a pad of graph paper for math class. A good, solid primer that you can buy used for less than $5.

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    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    We used "Statistics: A tool for social research" by Healey in grad school. I still refer to it now. Not a quick read, but comprehensive and well written.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Designing and Conducting Survey Research: A Comprehensive Guide. ISBN 0-7879-0810-X. This book goes into the complexities of statistics (Chi square, difference of means, significance of data) and has the added bonus of tying in directly with survey writing and measuring results. Granted, there are plenty of other types of statistics, even in planning, that don't deal directly with survey writing. Fortunately, the book is separated into three parts:

    1. "Developing and Administering Questionaires"
    2. "Ensuring Scientific Accuracy" (statistics section)
    3. "Presenting and Analyzing Survey Results"

    Part 2 can be studied on its open separate from the survey writing, which I think is very effective.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    I took stat as an undergrad and it was enough that I didn't need another course in grad school. I can't imagine just reading a text in preparation for a stat class, as you don't know anything about the instructor or what book they'll use. You'll just have to power through it if you had a math-light undergrad degree. My 2.

  7. #7
    Undergrad intro stats course is just going to scrape the surface of statistical techniques, and is not going to give it to you in the context of applying the techniques to real-world problems. You'll barely have a chance to explore regression analyses, and forget about stuff such as multi-level modeling. I think you should take as many stats courses as possible that fit into your curriculum, since planning programs are typically light on the quantitative side of things.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Undergrad intro stats course is just going to scrape the surface of statistical techniques, and is not going to give it to you in the context of applying the techniques to real-world problems. You'll barely have a chance to explore regression analyses, and forget about stuff such as multi-level modeling. I think you should take as many stats courses as possible that fit into your curriculum, since planning programs are typically light on the quantitative side of things.
    I agree. Planning program should emphasize statistics more. I run into problems regularly that require me to push the limits of my (rather limited) mathematical education, and I'm required to teach myself on the fly.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I would also consider a stats course that includes some introduction to SPSS.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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