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Introduction to Statistical Thought
  • Michael Lavine, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Introduction to Statistical Thought grew out of my teaching graduate and undergraduate statistics courses for many years, and from my experience as a statistical consultant and collaborator. I wanted to write a text that

explains how statisticians think about data,

introduces modern statistical computing, and

has lots of real examples.

The book is intended as an upper level undergraduate or introductory graduate textbook in statistical thinking with a likelihood emphasis for students with a good knowledge of calculus and the ability to think abstractly. "Statistical thinking" means a focus on ideas that statisticians care about as opposed to technical details of how to put those ideas into practice. The book does contain technical details, but they are not the focus. "Likelihood emphasis" means that the likelihood function and likelihood principle are unifying ideas throughout the text.

Another unusual aspect is the use of statistical software as a pedagogical tool. That is, instead of viewing the computer merely as a convenient and accurate calculating device, the book uses computer calculation and simulation as another way of explaining and helping readers understand the underlying concepts. The book is written with the statistical language R embedded throughout. R and accompanying manuals are available for free download from

Publication Date
Citation Information
Michael Lavine. Introduction to Statistical Thought. (2008)
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