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Applied Bayesian Statistics

Bayesian statistical analyses have become increasingly common over the last two decades. The rapid increase in computing power that facilitated their implementation coincided with major changes in the research interests of, and data availability for, social scientists. Specifically, the last two decades have seen an increase in the availability of panel data sets, other hierarchically structured data sets including spatially organized data, along with interests in life course processes and the influence of context on individual behavior and outcomes. The Bayesian approach to statistics is well-suited for these types of data and research questions. Applied Bayesian Statistics is an introduction to these methods that is geared toward social scientists. Author Scott M. Lynch makes the material accessible by emphasizing application more than theory, explaining the math in a step-by-step fashion, and demonstrating the Bayesian approach in analyses of U.S. political trends drawing on data from the General Social Survey.

1. Introduction
2. Probability Distributions and Review of Classical Analysis
3. The Bayesian Approach to Probability and Statistics
4. Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) Sampling Methods
5. Implementing the Bayesian Approach in Realistic Applications
6. Conclusion

A lucid exposition of the Bayesian approach to statistics, accessible to those new to this approach.

David Greenberg
New York University

The book's presentation of the logic of the Bayesian approach is one of the better illustrations that I've encountered. The level of mathematical precision used here is technical, but the layout makes it approachable.

Matthew Phillips
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Scott M. Lynch

Scott M. Lynch is a professor in the departments of Sociology and Family Medicine and Community Health at Duke University. He is a demographer, statistician, and social epidemiologist and is currently the director of the Center for Population Health and Aging in Duke’s Population Research Institute, where he is the associate director. His main substantive interests are in life course and cohort patterns in socioeconomic, racial, and regional dis-parities in health and mortality in the U.S. His main statistical interests are in the use of Bayesian statistics in social science and demographic research, especially in survival and life table... More About Author