Dustin Palmer writes:
I am a recent graduate looking for a bit of advice. While I took intro classes on math and statistics in my undergraduate degree as a political science major, I find myself university-less and seeking to develop my statistics toolkit.
I work for an NGO in the international development field. I think that a solid statistics foundation would offer me not only more career opportunities, but more importantly, a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the processes and problems that interest me. I’m talking about field experiments and practical quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
I have plenty of free time, ambition, and enthusiasm to improve this part of my toolbox, but I lack an attachment to an institution and much in the way of financial resources. How would you go about making a concentrated effort at acquiring an understanding of the field and its actual application in something like R or Stata, which I admit to never having used?
Perhaps I am simply asking about web resources or best texts, but any broad advice would be much appreciated too.
My gut recommendation is to start with a problem you care about and figure out what you need to get a reasonable solution, then go to the next problem, and so forth. For books, you could start with The Statistical Sleuth and my book with Jennifer. If you want to learn R, just try to make some pretty and useful graphs, that will motivate you to be able to do more.
Any other suggestions?