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Making Sense of Numbers teaches students the skills they need to be both consumers and producers of quantitative research: able to read about, collect, calculate, and communicate numeric information for both everyday tasks and school or work assignments. The text teaches how to avoid making common errors of reasoning, calculation, or interpretation by introducing a systematic approach to working with numbers, showing students how to figure out what a particular number means. The text also demonstrates why it is important to apply a healthy dose of skepticism to the numbers we all encounter, so that we can understand how those numbers can (and cannot) be interpreted in their real-world context. Jane E. Miller uses annotated examples on a wide variety of topics to illustrate how to use new terms, concepts, and approaches to working with numbers. End-of-chapter engagement activities designed based on Miller’s three decades of teaching experience can be used in class or as homework assignments, with some for students to do individually and others intended for group discussion. The book is ideally suited for a range of courses, including quantitative reasoning, research methods, basic statistics, data analysis, and communicating quantitative information.

An instructor website for the book includes a test bank and editable PowerPoint slides.

 
PART I: INTRODUCTION
 
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO MAKING SENSE OF NUMBERS
 
CHAPTER 2: FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS FOR QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
 
PART II: HOW TOPIC, MEASUREMENT, AND CONTEXT HELP MAKE SENSE OF NUMBERS
 
CHAPTER 3: TOPIC AND CONCEPTUALIZATION
 
CHAPTER 4: MEASUREMENT
 
CHAPTER 5: CONTEXT
 
PART III: EXHIBITS FOR COMMUNICATING NUMERIC INFORMATION
 
CHAPTER 6: WORKING WITH TABLES
 
CHAPTER 7: WORKING WITH CHARTS AND VISUALIZATIONS
 
PART IV: MAKING SENSE OF NUMBERS FROM MATHEMATICAL AND STATISTICAL METHODS
 
CHAPTER 8: COMPARISON VALUES, CONSTRAST SIZES, AND STANDARDS
 
CHAPTER 9: NUMBERS, COMPARISONS, AND CALCULATIONS
 
CHAPTER 10: DISTRIBUTIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS
 
PART V: ASSESSING THE QUALITY OF NUMERIC ESTIMATES
 
CHAPTER 11: BIAS
 
CHAPTER 12: CAUSALITY
 
CHAPTER 13: UNCERTAINTY OF NUMERIC ESTIMATES
 
CHAPTER 14: COMMUNICATING QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
 
CHAPTER 15: THE ROLE OF RESEARCH METHODS IN MAKING SENSE OF NUMBERS

This text invites students to develop an in-depth understanding of core concepts in research methods, clearly guides them through real-life examples, and offers tools needed for the development of strong analytical skills highly valued in the labor market.

Maria Aysa-Lastra
Winthrop University

This an incredibly useful textbook, showing students how to interpret others’ quantitative research, think about quantitative research of their own, and communicate the findings of that research. I learned several great tips myself on writing effectively about quantitative research findings!

Susan A. Dumais
Lehman College, CUNY

Making Sense of Numbers is an excellent companion for those learning to navigate the world of quantitative research.

Marc Isaacson
Augsburg University
Key features
  • Annotated Examples, which include new terms, concepts and approaches, help students understanding of the material.
  • Engagement Activities at the ends of chapters, which can be used in class or as homework assignments, with some for students to do individually and others intended for groups discussion.