This work was created as part of the University Libraries’ Open Educational Resources Initiative at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

The contents of this work have been adapted from the following Open Access Resources:

An Introduction to Psychological Statistics ( Garett C. Foster, University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Online Statistics Education: A Multimedia Course of Study ( Project Leader: David M. Lane, Rice University.

Changes to the original works were made by Dr. Linda R. Cote, Professor of Psychology, Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia; Dr. Rupa G. Gordon, Associate Professor of Psychology, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois; Dr. Chrislyn E. Randell, Professor of Psychology, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, Colorado; Judy Schmitt, Reference Librarian, University of Missouri–St. Louis; and Helena Marvin, Reference Librarian, University of Missouri–St. Louis. Materials from the original sources have been combined, reorganized, and added to by the current authors, and any conceptual, mathematical, or typographical errors are the responsibility of the current authors.

Cover image: “A Crushing Decision” by Lew (tomswift) Holzman/Flickr is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Welcome to Statistics!

Psychology students often find statistics courses to be different from their other psychology classes. There are some distinct differences, especially involving study strategies for class success. The first difference is learning a new vocabulary—it is similar to learning a new language. Knowing the meaning of certain words will help as you are reading the material and working through the problems. Secondly, practice is critical for success; reading over the material is not enough. Statistics is a subject learned by doing, so make sure you work through any homework questions, chapter questions, and practice problems available. Lastly, we recommend that you ask questions and get help from your instructor when needed. Struggling with the course material can be frustrating, and frustration is your enemy. Often your instructor can get you back on track quickly.

Statistical knowledge gives you a set of skills employable in graduate school and/or the workplace. Data science is a burgeoning field, and there is practical significance in learning this material. The statistics presented in this book are some of the most common ones used in research articles, and we hope by the end of this course you’ll feel comfortable reading (and not skipping!) the results section of an article.

We love to hear from students that they have enjoyed taking statistics. Yes, it does happen! We hope you will work through this course with an open mind and a willingness to ask for help if needed.

Linda R. Cote
Rupa G. Gordon
Chrislyn E. Randell


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Introduction to Statistics in the Psychological Sciences by Linda R. Cote Ph.D.; Rupa G. Gordon Ph.D.; Chrislyn E. Randell Ph.D.; Judy Schmitt; and Helena Marvin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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