Top critical review
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Assumes quite a lot
on 9 February 2011
In general, I think you can never have too many statistics textbooks, and this one is a reasonable addition to your shelf. The text proceeds through the basic assumptions of the commonest statistical tests you'd find in e.g. a social sciences research methods class, and is an OK guide to the use and interpretation of SPSS's output in response. There are a few things you should be aware of, though :
-The nature of the SPSS output is explained in, mostly, 1-3 solid pages of text which aren't well-segmented or placed under headings, and thus not particularly easy to read through - you're tacitly nudged towards reading through the entire 3 pages, whereas you may simply want to refer to something specific for a moment instead.
-The language used throughout requires a moderate degree of statistical knowledge to interpret in the first place.
-There are a few places where you'll read "this is outwith the scope of this book", which, while true, is not exactly helpful, although you will be pointed towards other, more comprehensive sources of further reading.
-There are one or two fairly definitive proclamations in the text which should be taken with a grain of salt; although a mathematical procedure, statistics and their interpretations are rather rarely absolutely definitive; often, it's implications rather than irrefutable prediction. For example, the note that one should "never" replace a missing variable with a column mean (p127) is more or less opinion than fact - there are times when it can be useful. Similarly, the cautionary note regarding interpreting correlation results from restricted populations (p124) isn't an absolutely cut and dried matter either.
In all, this is a decent reference book for the price. I wouldn't, however, say it's a replacement for Andy Fields' "Discovering Statistics Using SPSS" - Pallant's book is a shorter reference overall, whereas Field explains everything in a more easily digestible format. Field's book, however, is decently more expensive.