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Having struggled with this thorny issue for some 30 combined years of experience teaching statistics classes in criminal justice programs, we embark on a new path. This text de-emphasizes the traditional method of teaching statistical analysis by hand calculation. Instead, we incorporate a way of interpreting data that introduces students to the way that we actually do research.
Our purpose is to provide a book that is written at the proper level to instruct students in the use of statistics. We have elected to avoid a comprehensive approach common to many statistics texts. Instead, we focus on statistical tools typically used in the social sciences. We believe that the focus should be on the student's understanding of fundamental statistical analysis, and not on comprehensive statistical tests that are superfluous. In essence, the text is premised on active learning utilizing common statistical tools to analyze criminal justice data.
We emphasize criminal justice examples, along with step-by-step guidance in using SPSS Studentware. We provide two data sets: (a) crime data from the Uniform Crime Reports for all 50 states, coupled with other data, such as number of executions and sizeof jail and prison populations and (b) survey data from the National Survey on Crime and Justice. Exercises are based on these data sets. It is our belief that the best way to learn statistical analysis is by doing it. We also provide PowerPoint presentations, on-line assistance, and other ancillary materials to help guide students as they learn a new language, a new way of thinking and problem solving, and a new way of working.
The text is based on our classroom experience. We have learned the hard way what students can handle, where they get into trouble, and what type of explanations seem to part the fog of math anxiety.
We express our gratitude to our reviewers: Tom Lucadamo at the University of Baltimore, Steve Holmes at the University of Central Florida, and Leon Pettiway of Indiana University. Their careful attention to the original manuscript led to many improvements. We also thank our editor, Kim Davies, for her patient attention to the production of this text and her ability to tolerate our eccentricities.
Please feel free to contact us directly with questions or comments about this text at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Good luck with your plunge into statistical analysis!