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"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics," or so said Benjamin Disraeli. Fortunately, the field of statistics has come a long way in the last 150 years. With careful scrutiny, lies (and even damned lies) can often be recognized as the inappropriate use of statistics. Researchers must use statistical tests to evaluate how well experimental data supports a given hypothesis. In addition, modern experiments and studies frequently produce so much data that the only way to see the forest for the trees is with summary statistics. Indeed, most scientific journals will reject manuscripts for misuse or lack of statistical analyses.

The range of approaches to scientific questions is as varied as the data and methods of analysis. Data...

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