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Intro to Data Analysis & Statistics

Resources on the topics covered in introductory statistics and data analysis classes (e.g., PUBP 511, COMM 650)

Begin Your Learning

This guide was originally created as a supplementary resource for graduate students taking introductory statistics or data analysis courses (e.g., PUBP 511, COMM 650, EDRS 810). It may be useful to others. 

The sections of this guide are:

  • Math Review - The math you MUST know before taking a statistics class.
  • Data Basics - Classes without pre-tests will cover these topics, but it is best to review them first.
  • Statistics Concepts - It is crucial that you understand these fundamental concepts. 
  • Specific Analyses - If you are having difficulties choosing or using statistical tests, these may help.
  • Intermediate Topics - Commonly used analyses that are not typically in a first semester class
  • Reporting Statistics - Help with writing statistical conclusions and results sections
  • Reference - A glossary, how to choose a statistical test, and help with software.
  • Get Help - Other sources to check out


  • Leave extra time to study
  • Do not fall behind
  • Do the readings before class

Get Motivated by watching The Joy of Stats (video by Hans Rosling)

What if...

I hate math

If you made it through pre-algebra, you can pass a Statistics course. The math is not complex, and Statistics is much more than math. Leave yourself extra time to study, and make use of extra practice materials online. See Math Is Music; Statistics Is Literature (AMSTAT News).

English is not my first language

Statistics will be more difficult, but you can still succeed. Talk to your instructor early to understand the assignments and work with a study group. Check out the glossaries in Reference.

I’ve read the textbook 5 times and I still don’t understand it

If you have read the textbook 2 times and it still doesn’t make sense, try another source. Everybody thinks differently, so you will need to find material written by someone who thinks like you. It is also important to understand how everything fits together, such as The Big Picture of Statistics (Open Learning Textbook) or What Educated Citizens Should Know About Statistics and Probability (The American Statistician)

I’m completely lost in class

First, make sure you have done the readings before class as your instructor intended. Class is best for seeing how statistics is applied in your field and  for learning how your instructor wants you to approach homework and exam problems.  But also, ask questions! If you are still unclear, talk to the instructor after class to get additional clarification or suggested readings. Here are some great sources: Statistics Concepts.

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