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Elementary Statistics

Mario F. Triola
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
Hardcover with CDROM
[Reviewed by
William J. Satzer
, on

This is the twelfth edition of an introduction to statistics that is widely used in colleges and universities across the U.S. For the most part, it follows a very traditional path through statistics. It aims for a broad audience of students, including those with very limited backgrounds in mathematics. This new edition adds a chapter called “Ethics in Statistics”, includes revised examples, exercises and chapter problems, and incorporates some modest reorganization of material. The introduction emphasizes the percentage of problems and exercises that use real data.

The author begins at a very basic level. The first chapter is an introduction to the ideas and concepts of statistics. It also includes, for example, refresher material on converting fractions to decimals and decimals to percentages. Chapters on descriptive statistics, probability, discrete and normal distributions follow. Standard treatments of confidence intervals and hypothesis testing, inferential tests with two samples, and correlation and regression fill out the basic material. Two topics unusual at this level are included near the end; these are introductions to nonparametric tests and statistical process control.

The book overflows in several different ways. It is very long and contains a good deal more material than could be handled in a typical one semester course. The pages of the text are large format and absolutely crammed with text, pictures, graphs and sidelights. It is assembled very professionally, but it is so busy! I could imagine that students might find it hard to focus attention on the main text when there are so many other things on the page.

As full as the book is, there are topics I would like to see even (or perhaps especially) at this introductory level. One of them is exploratory data analysis. There is some discussion of this in Chapter 2, but it is overwhelmed by the other content. Another missing topic is a discussion of Bayesian methods of inference. The text never even mentions them, but uses of these techniques will likely become far more widespread in coming years.

The statistics software that’s included on a CD with the book has been well-received by students and it is an important part of the course. As valuable as this software can be, especially in giving the student means to investigate larger sets of real data, there are drawbacks. Although I have never taught a statistics course like one based on this book, I have worked with many people whose statistical training comes from similar books and software. I find that they are often very skilled with the software, but far less skilled (sometimes alarmingly so) with selecting which parts of the software to use and especially with knowing how to interpret the results. It would very quite valuable if the text were to address this particular issue in some detail, even at the expense of inclusion other topics.

Bill Satzer ( is a senior intellectual property scientist at 3M Company, having previously been a lab manager at 3M for composites and electromagnetic materials. His training is in dynamical systems and particularly celestial mechanics; his current interests are broadly in applied mathematics and the teaching of mathematics.

Chapter 1 Introduction to Statistics

1.1 Review and Preview

1.2 Statistical Thinking and Critical Thinking

1.3 Types of Data

1.4 Collecting Sample Data

Chapter 2 Summarizing and Graphing

2.1 Review and Preview

2.2 Frequency Distributions

2.3 Histograms

2.4 Graphs that Enlighten and Graphs that Deceive

Chapter 3 Statistics for Describing, Exploring, and Comparing

3.1 Review and Preview

3.2 Measures of Center

3.3 Measures of Variation

3.4 Measures of Relative Standing & Boxplots

Chapter 4 Probability

4.1 Review and Preview

4.2 Basic Concepts of Probability

4.3 Addition Rule

4.4 Multiplication Rule: Basics

4.5 Multiplication Rule: Complements and Conditional Probability

4.6 Counting

4.7 Probabilities Through Simulations  (on CD)

4.8 Bayes’ Theorem (on CD)

Chapter 5 Discrete Probability Distributions

5.1 Review and Preview

5.2 Probability Distributions

5.3 Binomial Probability Distributions

5.4 Parameters for Binomial Distributions

5.5 Poisson Probability Distributions

Chapter 6 Normal Probability Distributions

6.1 Review and Preview

6.2 The Standard Normal Distribution

6.3 Applications of Normal Distributions

6.4 Sampling Distributions and Estimators

6.5 Central Limit Theorem

6.6 Assessing Normality

6.7 Normal as Approximation to Binomial

Chapter 7 Estimates and Sample Sizes

7.1 Review and Preview

7.2 Estimating a Population Proportion

7.3 Estimating Population Mean

7.4 Estimating Population Standard Deviation or Variance

Chapter 8 Hypothesis Testing

8.1 Review and Preview

8.2 Basics of Hypothesis Testing

8.3 Testing a Claim About a Proportion

8.4 Testing a Claim About a Mean

8.5 Testing a Claim About a Standard Deviation or Variance

Chapter 9 Inferences from Two Samples

9.1 Review and Preview

9.2 Two Proportions

9.3 Two Means: Independent Samples

9.4 Two Dependent Samples (Matched Pairs)

9.5 Two Variances or Standard Deviations

Chapter 10 Correlation and Regression

10.1 Review and Preview

10.2 Correlation

10.3 Regression

10.4 Prediction Intervals and Variation

10.5 Multiple Regression

10.6 Nonlinear Regression

Chapter 11 Goodness-of-Fit and Contingency Tables

11.1 Review and Preview

11.2 Goodness-of-Fit

11.3 Contingency Tables

Chapter 12 Analysis of Variance

12.1 Review and Preview

12.2 One-Way ANOVA

12.3 Two-Way ANOVA

Chapter 13 Nonparametric Tests

13.1 Review and Preview

13.2 Sign Test

13.3 Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test for Matched Pairs

13.4 Wilcoxon Rank-Sum Test for Two Independent Samples

13.5 Kruskal-Wallis Test

13.6 Rank Correlation

13.7 Runs Test for Randomness

Chapter 14 Statistical Process Control

14.1 Review and Preview

14.2 Control Charts for Variation and Mean

14.3 Control Charts for Attributes

Chapter 15 Ethics, Projects, Procedures and Perspectives

15.1 Ethics in Statistics

15.2 Projects

15.3 Procedures

15.4 Perspectives