William D. Richards, Jr.


Empirical Press
2476 Trinity
Vancouver, BC

(604) 251-3272
fax (604) 251-7073

ISBN 1-57273-245-8

The Zen of Empirical Research by Dr. William D. Richards is a friendly, accessible introduction to quantitative research methods and statistics for students — especially for those with an Arts background or limited mathematical experience.

This text begins by providing students with a grounding in the principles of science and with a practical understanding of how to develop precise, empirically testable questions. It clearly explains the most common statistical methods used to answer these questions, and presents a detailed discussion of experimental design, survey research and sampling methods.

Developed through classroom use and student input, this text is, above all, a student's text book. Its unique first person conversational approach, informal humor and every day examples make abstract concepts clear and statistics fun. The emphasis is always on understanding the logic behind statistics rather than on math, formulae, or rote problem solving, which ensures that students are able to apply the skills they've learned to answer real research problems.

The Zen of Empirical Research also features:

The Zen of Empirical Research

William D. Richards

    (Note: Chapters 1, 6, 8, and 13 available in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format)

Preface xv

"20 Ways to Prove Significance" xvii

I. Scientific research

1. Science [pdf] 3
2. Conceptualizing  17
3. Operationalizing  23
4. Validity and reliability  29
5. Sampling  35

II. Univariate Statistics

6. Univariate descriptive statistics [pdf] 45
7. Distributions 59
8. The normal curve and samples: sampling distributions [pdf]  69
9. Inferential statistics: from samples to populations  75
10. Univariate inferential statistics  79

III. Bivariate Descriptive Statistics

11. Crosstabulation 87
12. Strength of relationships: Discrete data  93
13. Strength of relationships: Continuous data [pdf]  107
14. Regression  115

IV. Hypothesis testing

15. Statistical significance 123
16. Chi-squared  127
17. z-test for differences between means  135
18. Tests for correlations  145
19. More mean differences: z, t, and F  151

V. Research approaches

20. Experiments 163
21. Survey research 171

VI. Appendices

A. Equations 189
B. Tables  193
C. Glossary[pdf]  215
D. Exercises[pdf]  233

References 257
Index 259

(Note: Chapters 1, 6, 8, and 13 available in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format)

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 "20 Ways to Prove Significance"
Jennifer Auten, 12/97

(To the tune of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover")

I see the problem's still inside your heads when you look at me
Isn't it easy when you think it logically?
I'd like to help you with your struggle to reject the null . . .
There must be twenty ways to prove significance.
I say it's really not my habit to intrude,
But Lord I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued
But I repeat myself at the risk of being crude:
There must be twenty ways to prove significance.

Difference ‘tween the two means, Jean
Is statistically significant, Kent
The difference is real, Neil
Ya gotta hear my speil:
A difference this large, Marge,
Ain't due to chance alone, Joan
Can't be no fluke, Luke
No coincidence, Vince.

Reject that null, yeah gotta reject that null
I say, it grieves me so to see you in such pain
Wish there was something I could do to make you smile again
You say you're glad I said that and
"Would you please explain about the twenty ways?"
I say, there's no reason to have to sleep on it tonight
‘Cuz right here and now I can show you the light
And then you smile at me and you realize I'm probably right
There must be twenty ways to accept the null
There must be twenty ways to accept the null

Difference ‘tween the two means, Jean
Not statistically significant, Kent
Easily due to chance alone, Joan
Come on, hear my drone:
Could be a fluke, Luke
Probably coincidence, Vince.
Those samples are odd, Todd,
No, you can't reject that null!

Yeah, reject that null
Yeah, reject that null
Yeah, reject that null

There must be twenty ways . . . .


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Look at chapter or two of Zen of Empirical Research

Chapter 1

Chapter 6

Chapter 8

Chapter 13