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4.7 out of 5 stars32
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on 27 November 2003
I became interested in this book when I was an undergraduate because all the PhD students were using it for their work. I soon found out why. More and more science departments across the land are requiring their undergraduates to learn statistics and as a result more and more books on the subject are appearing. This book raises itself from the pack by explain the basic concepts of statistics very well and relating them with useful examples. Consequently it is extremely handy for Biologists like myself who lack a background in mathematics but have to use it all the time to help justify results.
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on 15 May 2001
The check list at the start helps you to decide which test is right to use, something that has always been a problem for non-statisticians. The book then easily takes you through the steps necessary for completing the test, but also, the best bit, it tells you how to do it on a number of stats computer programmes, which if you have access to, saves you gallons of time- fantastic- statistics was a mystery until finding this book.
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VINE VOICEon 28 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having done both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in biology I was interested in this book as statistics is often a tricky subject. I really like this book - it is simple and easy to use, yet at the same time it does not ignore the information actually needed when using statistics in biology.

The book is split into 9 sections (really 8 with an introductory page):

1) Eight steps to successful data analysis
2) The basics
3) Choosing a test: a key
4) Hypothesis testing, sampling and experimental design
5) Statistics, variables and distributions
6) Descriptive and presentational techniques
7) The tests 1 : tests to look at differences
8) The tests 2 : tests to look at relationships
9) The tests 3: tests for data exploration

I was impressed with how the book splits the statistical tests up into sections by describing what they are used for (e.g. looking at relationships or differences). Often statistical books just lump everything together so unless you know the exact test you are looking for it can be confusing and time consuming trying to find the appropriate test whereas here you can pick what test to use by looking at the relevant section. Furthermore, you can also use the key in section 3 to help guide you to a suitable test.

Rather than just the theory behind statistics this book also explains how to perform each test (where applicable) in SPSS, Excel, Minitab and (new for this version) R statistical software packages. Giving information on how to input the data, run the tests and interpret the output. There is also a handy section listing the assumptions that each test makes on the data it is being applied to.

Overall, it is a really good book and I think it is useful for anyone studying biology and needing a textbook for statistics. I only wish I had known of this book (well, the previous versions that were available) when I was studying as it would have made my life a lot easier!
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on 25 August 2006
Couldn't have survived the stats in either my degree or my MSc without this book, it gets down to what biologists care about in stats, what test to use, how to use it and what it shows, and avoids all the confusing 'mathsy' stuff in the middle (leaving you to read it in other books if necessary). If you want a stats book that is designed for biologists who have to cope with stats rather than statisticians trying to make something relevant to biology this is probably the book for you.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the third edition of Calvin Dytham's book for biology students which was first published by Blackwell Science in 1999, with the second edition appearing in 2003. Blackwell was acquired by John Wiley in 2007 and the work is now published by Wiley-Blackwell. This edition was published in 2011 and any review dated earlier will refer to an earlier edition.

There are a few features new to this edition including information on using the free program "R" - it still includes information on using SPSS, Minitab and Excel. Although the book is clearly aimed biology students there is enough about using statistics generally to be of use to a slightly wider readership.

This new edition also includes a comprehensive glossary and key symbols to help to explain any statistical jargon. There are key and flow charts to help choose the right statistical test and Calvin Dytham has assumed no previous knowledge of statistics. Amazon has provided their "Look Inside" feature for this book and a quick click will show some of what is in the book. However, I guess most students considering this book will have a fair idea of what to expect!

A useful book which is well designed for its target readership and nicely bound so should last well with use.
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on 4 December 2001
Absolutely agree with the review above - This was recomended by Plymouth Uni as the top 'Must Have' book for all things stats.
More detail (if that's your thing!) can be found elswhere, but this book tied all those lectures and other reference books together as to why something is used when it is.
Thank you Mr Dytham!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is about how to use statistics in biology. It explains many different kinds of sampling and many different kinds of tests and some of the problems associated with different kinds of sampling and testing. It has no equations and tells you how to calculate various statistical quantities using computer programs programs. Although it is ostensibly for biologists I think just about anybody who is doing experiments, except for people using very advanced statistical methods, might find it useful, especially if they don't like maths. If you do like maths, as I do, and you want to explore the maths of statistics, then you shouldn't buy the book.

I have one slight reservation about this book. The author sometimes talks as if a theory has been shown to be true or made more probable after it passes a test. But in fact, any theory is either true or false and no test is guaranteed to give you the answer to that question - misinterpretation and mistakes are very common. And unless you measure every instance of a phenomenon in the entire universe with perfect accuracy you could be wrong, and even if you thought that you had you could still be wrong because you could have missed some relevant part of the whole universe. The author also mentions the correct theory of what experimental tests do - namely, if your theory fails to pass a test then that produces a problem for your theory.

However, the book is well worth buying if you want a simple book on how to make practical use of statistics.
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on 28 February 2012
This book was recommended by my lecturer as 'the book for anyone unsure or scared of statistics' and it hasn't let me down.

There is key at the front to help you work out the tests you can run with your data - but be warned, some prior knowledge of the data types and questions you can ask is required to use the key sucessfully (most of which you can find in the book).

Sections give clear expanations of the data types, EDA & hypothesis tests and very useful sections on how to perform each test in common applications such as excel, spss and minitab (no R I'm afraid for this 2nd edition).

A great guide that I would recommened for anyone who needs to know the basics about statistics for biological tests. However if you are dealing with small sample sizes (as some captive animal studies will - e.g. in zoos) then I'd recommened looking at the BIAZA documents relating to stats, as precious few of the tests in here are likely to be valid.
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VINE VOICEon 5 May 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is completely different to any other statistics book I've seen because instead of presenting loads of scary equations it concentrates on finding the right test for your investigation. Ideally you should consult this volume before embarking on your experiments because having an idea of the tests that are suitable for your situation will definitely help you optimise data collection. The book starts with a step-by-step guide to planning your investigation and also includes an easy-to-use key to selecting the right test(s). This is followed by detailed descriptions of how to carry out the tests using a variety of popular statistical programs. I you ever need to carry out statistical tests, or if you are reading a paper and want to understand why a particular test was selected, this book is for you.
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on 2 April 2013
I bought this book to help with my dissertation statistics for an ecological study. We were taught stats as part of our degree but by the time you come to independently conducting them on your own dataset with little help this book is a must-have!

It has a useful key to figure out what kind of tests to use for different data types with good example datasets which you can easily relate to your own. It also tells you about what each different tests show, their assumptions and more and then describes how to conduct the tests in SPSS, Minitab, R and excel (where possible for each), after which it illustrates the outputs from each software package and how to interpret them!

Brilliant book which has increased my understanding of stats tenfold!
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