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April 25, 1977

Statistics at Square One

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1977;237(17):1874. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270440064034

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Derived from a series of articles on elementary statistics published in the British Medical Journal during 1976, this inexpensive soft-cover booklet lays out major topics in plain, pithy language. The introductory confessional of the powers and the limitations of statistics is alone worth the price of the book. The text provides medically pertinent examples, rounded out by exercises (with answers) at the end of each chapter.

In just a few neat sentences, the author differentiates SE from SD, an attempt at which most standard texts fail. More difficult topics, such as t tests, X2 tests, and correlation-regression, follow, supplemented by powerful tools for nonparametric data management. Even the Fisher exact probability concept begins to make sense at last, a fine measure of this book's pedagogical strengths. Calculations require minimal knowledge of algebra, while restructured computational formulas allow easy execution on simple pocket calculators; the appendix supplies adequate probability tables.