Staistics for Research with a Guide to SPSS – 3rd Ed, by George Argyrous

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    Clive Sims
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    Argyrous, George. Statistics for Research with a Guide to SPSS. (3rd Ed.) (2011). London. Sage. Reviewer: Clive Sims

         This is a book that I wish I’d had on two occasions in my life; the first when I started

     statistics as a psychology undergraduate and the second, many years later, when I

     embarked upon a research degree in counselling psychology. The author provides a

     logical introduction to applied statistics and research methodology, clearly and

     carefully linking the two. After demonstrating each relevant statistical technique ‘by hand’,

     using well-chosen examples from both the health and the social sciences, he

     then demonstrates how it can be carried out using SPSS. This enables the reader to

     understand the underlying rationale behind the use of any particular statistic rather than

     simply following an SPSS ‘cook-book’. The reader is guided from the use of graphs and

     tables in descriptive statistics through to advanced topics such as statistical power. There is

     also a companion website containing additional resources both for the lecturer and for the

     student.

          Statistics for Research consists of 28 chapters divided into 7 parts. There is also an

    Appendix of useful statistical tables, a list of key equations and a glossary of terms,

    invaluable to the student. Each chapter builds logically and progressively on the previous

    one and most have consolidating exercises at the end. A useful feature is a list of learning

    objectives at the beginning of the chapter which act as signposts for the reader. Each

    chapter is individual & self-contained and can be read separately however each also builds

    upon the previous ones within the relevant part. The 7 parts can also be read separately

     although, again, they are part of a logical learning progression. The part headings give a

    guide to their contents. They are, 1) An Introduction to Statistical Analysis; 2) Descriptive

    Statistics: Graphs and Tables; 3) Descriptive Statistics: Numerical Measures; 4) Inferential

    Statistics: Tests for a Mean; 5) Inferential Statistics: Tests for Frequency Distributions; 6)

    Inferential Statistics: Other Tests of Significance; 7) Advanced topics. Within each part there

    are several chapters covering the topic in sufficient depth for the reader to understand the

    underlying principles, followed by a section on how SPSS 19 can carry out the operations,

    including screen shots of commands and outputs to provide extra clarity.

    A detailed table of contents is available on the companion website at:

    http://www.uk.sagepub.com/argyrous3/home.htm

         For those without access to SPSS the author provides a list of alternatives including

    comprehensive commercial programs, free comprehensive programs and calculation pages

    for specific statistical analyses. Sadly not all the free programs remain free but they do

    provide a useful alternative to the costly commercial packages.

         George Argyrous has written a statistics and research methods book that covers the

    areas most frequently encountered by researchers, both at undergraduate and post-

    graduate level. As he readily admits no single volume of 585 pages could encompass

    everything. Besides being a comprehensive introduction for the tyro researcher it is an

    excellent reference for those of us with years of experience. Indeed, like myself I am sure

    that any experienced researcher will find precious nuggets of new information to be mined

    from this book. Above all it is well written and a pleasure to read, not qualities one usually

    associates with statistics text-books.

    Summary

        Statistics for Research with a Guide to SPSS, 3rd Ed, by George Argyrous is an exceptionally

     well-presented introduction to research methods and the consequent statistical analysis

     which will be invaluable to those embarking on quantitative research in the social and

    health sciences for the first time as well as to more experienced researchers. Apart from a

    few minor editorial errors it has been a pleasure to read and the accompanying exercises

    have brought me up to scratch in some areas where my knowledge had become rusty. The

    book is accompanied by a companion website which provides valuable additional material

    both for the student and the lecturer. I can thoroughly recommend this book.

     

     

        

     

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