Statistics for Humanities

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For students of Archaeology, Area Studies, Classics, English, Film, History, Linguistics, Modern Languages, Music, Philosophy and Religious Studies

Note:A PDF version of the book is now available at the main website. I probably won't do much to this wikimedia version of the website unless there is demand and help available.

--John (talk) 14:29, 15 July 2014 (BST)


Statistics for the Humanities is a free open access online book aimed at university students who are new to statistics, especially students studying humanities subjects.

This site is still under development. Although the website has been written in wiki markup, the previous version was written in LaTeX. Over the next few months I intend to tidy it up and add further features and materials. Comments/ corrections can be emailed to j.canning[at] If you would like to help/ contribute, please email me for a login. John Canning, 16:44, 14 October 2013 (UTC).

Now on twitter @statistics4hums

NEWS! A well-laid out pdf version of the book is currently in preparation. If you are interested in a preview, please e-mail me. --John (talk) 17:10, 22 June 2014 (BST)

Known issues



Chapter 0:The mathematics behind statistics

Chapter 1:Introduction

Chapter 2:How many and how big?

Chapter 3:Summarising data

Chapter 4:Measuring spread

Chapter 5: Sampling

Chapter 6: Measuring change

Chapter 7: Drawing conclusion from statistics

Chapter 8: Key concepts in statistics

Chapter 9 :Using statistics intelligently

Chapter 10:Comparing groups: chi square test

Chapter 11:Comparing groups: the Student's t tests

Chapter 12: Comparing groups: Analysis of Variance

Chapter 13: Understanding relationships

Chapter 14:Prediction

Chapter 15: Ranking data

Chapter 16:Spatial data

Chapter 17 Having confidence in data

Chapter 18: Association, causation and effect

Chapter 19: Collecting your own data

Chapter 20: Presenting data

Chapter 21: The next steps.


Dealing with non-decimal units

Displaying statistics online and in word processing documents

Random numbers


List of symbols


Statistics for Humanities was developed by John Canning, Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at the University of Brighton. It was mostly written when he was Senior Academic Coordinator at the LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies at the University of Southampton. The work was funded through a British Academy grant. Just 15% of students in England study mathematics beyond GCSE level. However, many of this non-mathematics studying majority find that they need for mathematical skills for the advanced study of other subjects, including humanities and social science subjects at school or university or in their job. As a recent report into the teaching of mathematics noted, this is not a new problem, but there has been a significant increase in mathematical requirement for jobs. Without mathematical, and in particular statistical skills whole areas of the social sciences and humanities are inaccessible to research students and future academics. With a few exceptions statistics rarely forms part of the humanities curriculum.

Quick list

Browser support

This website has been developed in Mediawiki the software behind Wikipedia. The website should display without problems in most modern browsers and on most modern devices. Older browsers may not be able to display mathematical text. Mathematical equations are written in LaTeX and are displayed with the aid of MathJax

Copyright notice

Statistics for Humanities is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License Full details