Stephen L. R. Ellison, Vicki J. Barwick and Trevor J. Duguid Farrant

Cambridge: RSC 2009 | Pp268 | £29.95 | ISBN 978 085 404 131 2

Reviewed by Matthew Almond

cover of Practical statistics for the analytical scientist: a bench guide

This book gives a comprehensive survey of statistical methods used in analytical science. It is aimed at the practicing analyst but there is much here that would be of use to postgraduate - and indeed undergraduate - students carrying out analytical laboratory projects. Despite the book's detail the clarity of presentation and way in which it leads the reader through topics means that beginners in analysis would find the book a useful guide.

The book begins with a very useful section on how to choose the right statistics and then moves from relatively straightforward concepts - the use of graphs and distributions - through to more complex statistical procedures involving outliers, variance, regression and uncertainty. One feature that I particularly like is the way that topics are introduced from simple concepts then gradually the more complicated mathematics is introduced. An example is given by the chapter on analysis of variance (ANOVA). A clear procedure for the interpretation of ANOVA tables is given at the start while the mathematics comes at the end of the chapter, allowing the reader to perform manual calculations for ANOVA. 

For students this book is a very good source of information that would help them to interpret their data properly. The chapters on the crucial areas of planning of experiments and sampling strategies are extremely useful. It is clear that in producing a second edition the authors have made a comprehensive revision - in particular they have described the enormous advances that have been made in using computers for data analysis since the first edition was produced. I am very happy to recommend this book to professional analysts and university students.