What basic statistics concepts do I need to understand web analytics?
February 3, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm registered for a Web Analytics class. A prerequisite is "Familiarity with basic concepts of statistics." I'm not a math person and never studied statistics. Which basic statistics concepts should learn before this class? Are there any comic books, videos, or fun resources that would help me learn?

This is a 9 hour continuing ed class. No worry about a grade. I need to keep up with the lecture and hold my own in the group activities. I am a Web Project Manager with a smattering of web development experience from long ago (HTML, VBcript). I'm very confident in my knowledge of web design concepts. I want this class to make me more savvy and useful in business. To round out my knowledge base.
posted by valannc to Technology (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
The book How to Lie with Statistics would be a good start. It's a brief, funny conceptual overview, and I don't think you need any math background to understand it.
posted by paulg at 1:14 PM on February 3, 2010


Do you understand things like averages & distributions (including a rough understanding of what a standard deviation is?). If that's not completely greek to you, you're probably fine.

(I'd point you to Wikipedia articles, but their math articles tend to be useless if you're actually interested in learning anything; they're mostly written by math students that seem to believe that everyone in the whole world is also a math student.)
posted by effbot at 1:27 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looking at the syllabus you linked to, I sincerely doubt that any meaningful stats knowledge is necessary beyond being able to look at a line graph and see the trend. I wouldn't sweat it.
posted by mkultra at 1:49 PM on February 3, 2010


The manga guide to statistics may be worth a look?
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 1:51 PM on February 3, 2010


Here is a recent AskMe question about a "crash course" in statistical methods. I imagine that most of the stuff covered in the linked resources will greatly exceed your needs, but you might find it helpful.
posted by OmieWise at 1:52 PM on February 3, 2010


For a Scientific Method for Lawyers class I took, the professors assigned Statistics Without Tears. It covers the concepts behind statistics, without the calculations, and was pretty accessible.
posted by that possible maker of pork sausages at 2:03 PM on February 3, 2010


The author of the Cartoon History of the Universe also made a Cartoon Guide To Statistics. I haven't read it, but I like all the other Cartoon History/Guide books I've read.
posted by NoraReed at 2:06 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


You could read some of the supporting materials for Google Analytics.
posted by idb at 2:06 PM on February 3, 2010


They do not mean statistics they way the rest of us mean statistics. If you can look at and understand your own web statistics, I think you'll be prepared enough.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:03 PM on February 3, 2010


Seconding the Cartoon Guide. I have read it and found it very conceptually helpful.
posted by immlass at 5:20 PM on February 3, 2010


Thanks for all these replies! Who knew there were at least TWO comic books about statistics. My public library has the Manga Guide to Statistics, so I'm all set. :-)
posted by valannc at 8:16 PM on February 4, 2010


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