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Data Analysis with Microsoft® Excel: Updated for Office 2007® harnesses the power of Excel and transforms it into a tool for learning basic statistical analysis. Students learn statistics in the context of analyzing data. We feel that it is important for students to work with real data, analyzing real-world problems, so that they understand the subtleties and complexities of analysis that make statistics such an integral part of understanding our world. The data set topics range from business examples to physiological studies on NASA astronauts. Because students work with real data, they can appreciate that in statistics no answers are completely final and that intuition and creativity are as much a part of data analysis as is plugging numbers into a software package.
This text can serve as the core text for an introductory statistics course or as a supplemental text. It also allows nontraditional students outside of the classroom setting to teach themselves how to use Excel to analyze sets of real data so they can make informed business forecasts and decisions. Users of this book need not have any experience with Excel, although previous experience would be helpful. The first three chapters of the book cover basic concepts of mouse and Windows operation, data entry, formulas and functions, charts, and editing and saving workbooks. Chapters 4 through 12 emphasize teaching statistics with Excel as the instrument.
Spreadsheets have become one of the most popular forms of computer software, second only to word processors. Spreadsheet software allows the user to combine data, mathematical formulas, text, and graphics together in a single report or workbook. For this reason, spreadsheets have become indispensable tools for business, as they have also become popular in scientific research. Excel in particular has won a great deal of acclaim for its ease of use and power.
As spreadsheets have expanded in power and ease of use, there has been increased interest in using them in the classroom. There are many advantages to using Excel in an introductory statistics course. An important advantage is that students, particularly business students, are more likely to be familiar with spreadsheets and are more comfortable working with data entered into a spreadsheet. Since spreadsheet software is very common at colleges and universities, a statistics instructor can teach a course without requiring students to purchase an additional software package. Having identified the strengths of Excel for teaching basic statistics, it would be unfair not to include a few warnings. Spreadsheets are not statistics packages, and there are limits to what they can do in replacing a full-featured statistics package.
This is why we have included our own downloadable add-in, StatPlus™. It expands some of Excel’s statistical capabilities. (We explain the use of StatPlus where appropriate throughout the text.) Using Excel for anything other than an introductory statistics course would probably not be appropriate due to its limitations. For example, Excel can easily perform balanced two-way analysis of variance but not unbalanced two-way analysis of variance. Spreadsheets are also limited in handling data with missing values. While we recommend Excel for a basic statistics course, we feel it is not appropriate for more advanced analysis.