Math that matters: SOM professor publishes first stats textbook

By Ellen Garnett

Staff Writer

How many times have you read a chapter of a math textbook and asked yourself, “how is this relevant in the real world”?

Source: Edward T. Viera

Most of us can rattle off an equation like a2+b2=c2, but we often do not know its importance. Associate Professor Edward T. Vieira, Jr., Ph.D, of the School of Management (SOM) put this question to the test in his upcoming first published book, “Introduction to Real World Statistics.”

“Arguably, statistics books expend space covering statistical formulas and topics that are relatively not easily usable by introductory students or practitioners,” said Professor Vieira.

“The level of detail often becomes overwhelming and the student experiences a loss of interest. This book focuses on constructing a foundation of understanding where the student practitioner can simply learn and use statistical tools to address real world challenges throughout the book without learning formulae or unnecessary details.”

This 650-page book took approximately three years to produce from conceptualization to publication, according to Vieira. But do not let its length fool you; instead of bogging down readers with formulas to remember, “Introduction to Real World Statistics” focuses on the big picture of statistics and its uses.

“Being a positivist and perhaps a neopositivist, I believe that the world is mathematical and thus can be explained in mathematical terms,” said Professor Vieira. “Technology provides a great deal of data at our fingertips that allow for so much data-driven decision-making potential…We have the data, now what do they mean? The quantitative researcher is in an excellent position to effectively answer such questions.”

“Introduction to Real World Statistics” will launch on March 9 in hard copy ($240), paperback ($75.95), and an electronic version, whose price will be determined. Professor Vieira does not plan to use his textbook for his quantitative analysis and statistics classes, as they use Excel; however, Dr. Susan Sampson of the SOM plans to use it for one of her research courses.

“Professor Vieira combines a straightforward approach to applied statistics with the most accessible statistical package, SPSS, [Statistical Package for the Social Science],” said John Lowe, associate dean of the SOM.

“His non-technical, clear, and concise writing style makes ‘Introduction to Real World Statistics’ a valuable handbook and reference for students and practitioners as well as an effective text for introductory statistics courses.”

Concurrently, Professor Vieira is also working on writing a children’s book with the help of Simmons graphic design senior Kati Ripaldi. His inspiration for this genre comes from his children and the natural scenery in Maine, where he resides.