There are books on statistical theory and books on statistical methods. This is neither. It is a book on statistical ideas and statistical reasoning and on their relevance to public policy and to the human sciences from medicine to sociology. We have included many elementary graphical and numerical techniques to give flesh to the ideas and muscle to the reasoning. Students learn to think about data by working with data. We have not, however, allowed technique to dominate concepts. Our intention is to teach verbally rather than algebraically, to invite discussion and even argument rather than mere computation, though some computation remains essential. The coverage is considerably broader than one might traditionally cover in a one-term course, as the table of contents reveals. In the spirit of general education, we have preferred breadth to detail.

Despite its informal nature, SCC is a textbook. It is organized for systematic study and has abundant exercises, many of which ask students to offer a discussion or make a judgment. Even those admirable individuals who seek pleasure in uncompelled reading should look at the exercises as well as the text. Teachers should be aware that the book is more serious than its low mathematical level suggests. The emphasis on ideas and reasoning asks more of the reader than many recipe-laden methods texts.

For the first time, SCC is now publish with SaplingPlus as it’s full course digital solution. We have a well developed library of both error specific feedback and generic feedback tutorial assessment, aligned to the main learning goals of the chapter and largely taken directly from the end-of-chapter exercises in the book. SaplingPlus also hosts our robust suite of teaching and learning resources: Concept and Controversy videos, statistical applets, Learning Curve, data sets, and many more teaching and learning focused tools.