About the Book
Data analysis is a difficult process largely because few people can describe exactly how to do it. It's not that there aren't any people doing data analysis on a regular basis. It's that the process by which we state a question, explore data, conduct formal modeling, interpret results, and communicate findings, is a difficult process to generalize and abstract. Fundamentally, data analysis is an art. It is not yet something that we can easily automate. Data analysts have many tools at their disposal, from linear regression to classification trees to random forests, and these tools have all been carefully implemented on computers. But ultimately, it takes a data analyst—a person—to find a way to assemble all of the tools and apply them to data to answer a question of interest to people.
This book writes down the process of data analysis with a minimum of technical detail. What we describe is not a specific "formula" for data analysis, but rather is a general process that can be applied in a variety of situations. Through our extensive experience both managing data analysts and conducting our own data analyses, we have carefully observed what produces coherent results and what fails to produce useful insights into data. This book is a distillation of our experience in a format that is applicable to both practitioners and managers in data science.
If you are interested in obtaining a printed copy of this book, you can purchase one at Lulu.
The package containing the lecture videos offers short commentaries on each of the chapters and contains addtional explanatory material for each of the topics. In addition there is some material in the lectures that is not included in the book.
About the Authors
Roger D. Peng is a Professor of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where his research focuses on the development of statistical methods for addressing environmental health problems. He is also a co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Data Science Specialization, the Simply Statistics blog where he writes about statistics for the general public, the Not So Standard Deviations podcast with Hilary Parker, and The Effort Report podcast with Elizabeth Matsui. He is the recipient of the 2016 Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the American Public Health Association, which honors a statistician who has made outstanding contributions to public health. Roger can be found on Twitter and GitHub at @rdpeng.
Elizabeth Matsui is a Professor of Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a practicing pediatric allergist/immunologist. She directs a data management and analysis center with Dr. Peng that supports epidemiologic studies and clinical trials and is co-founder of Skybrude Consulting, LLC, a data science consulting firm. Elizabeth can be found on Twitter @eliza68.