Statistics for Exercise Science and Health: An interview with author J.P. Verma

Features

  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 27 Jun 2014
  • Copyright: Photograph copyright of Professor Verma

This month Wiley are proud to publish Statistics for Exercise Science and Health with Microsoft Excel, which introduces the use of statistics to solve a variety of problems in exercise science and health and provides readers with a solid foundation for future research and data analysis.

The book aids readers in analyzing their own data using the presented statistical techniques combined with Excel, features comprehensive coverage of hypothesis testing and regression models to facilitate modeling in sports science and utilizes Excel to enhance reader competency in data analysis and experimental designs. It also includes coverage of both binomial and poison distributions with applications in exercise science and health, provides solved examples and plentiful practice exercises throughout in addition to case studies to illustrate the discussed analytical techniques, as well as containing all needed definitions and formulas to aid readers in understanding different statistical concepts and developing the needed skills to solve research problems.

The author, J.P. Verma is a Professor of Statistics and the Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies at Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Gwalior, India.

thumbnail image: Statistics for Exercise Science and Health: An interview with author J.P. Verma

1. Congratulations on the upcoming publication of your book, Statistics for Exercise Science and Health with Microsoft Excel which introduces the use of statistics to solve a variety of problems in exercise science and health and provides readers with a solid foundation for future research and data analysis. How did the writing process begin?

I joined Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Gwalior as a faculty in 1982. This institute is the only deemed university of physical education in India under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. After teaching Master’s, MPhil and PhD programmes in physical education and allied disciplines for a long time, I could understand the problems faced by my students in learning and using statistics and understanding its concepts. I have experienced that if I teach statistics to them using the examples and case studies in their domain, they understand it well.

This encouraged me to produce a textbook which should address students not just in physical education and its allied disciplines but in the research communities of other disciplines as well. I have tried to include all the relevant content that the students and research scholars would require, besides focusing on conceptual clarification with simple examples. Since I have conducted many research workshops for students and faculty from varied disciplines in many Indian and foreign universities, I could understand the bottlenecks in understanding and using statistics by the audience.

So the writing of this book is the result of my interaction with students and research scholars, which helped me in accumulating the ideas for this text during the last three decades. I am sure this book will fulfill the aspirations of scholars of exercise sciences, health sciences and other offshoots of physical education and sports science disciplines across the world.

2. Who should read the book and why?

Primarily this book is suitable for the students of Master’s, MPhil and PhD programmes in exercise science, health science, sports science, nutrition, sports psychology, physical education, kinesiology, sports biomechanics, yoga, leisure sports, etc. For research scholars in any discipline who wish to analyse their data using Excel for their thesis, this is the right text.

3. What is it about the area of exercise science and health that fascinates you?

We are all concerned about good health and active lifestyle. World health organization is focusing a lot on enhancing the quality of life and increasing life expectancy of people. In this mammoth task, the role of professionals in the area of exercise science and health is the most important. Researches in these areas go a long way in achieving these objectives. This book will help these professionals and researchers to effectively use statistical techniques to provide effective models of exercise regimen, nutritional requirements for people of different age categories. Due to these considerations I have chosen the area of exercise science and health for this book.

Features like "Check your progress" and "Practice exercise” have been included after covering each major topic. This will facilitate the students to understand each and every concept thoroughly. Lots of solved examples, multiple choice questions and numerical exercises with answers included in the text will help the students to have enough practice on each topic discussed in the chapter.

4. Why is this book of particular interest now?

This is the only book which can be considered as a textbook in its truest sense for the students of graduate, pre-doctoral and doctoral course work in exercise science, health sciences, physical education, sports sciences and other related disciplines due to the following reasons:

a. Firstly, it follows ‘simple to complex’ approach. One requires simple knowledge of mathematics only to start this text.
b. Secondly, in each chapter, features like "Check your progress" and "Practice exercise” have been included after covering each major topic. This will facilitate the students to understand each and every concept thoroughly. Lots of solved examples, multiple choice questions and numerical exercises with answers included in the text will help the students to have enough practice on each topic discussed in the chapter.
c. Thirdly, towards the end of each chapter solution for case studies related to the chapter topic have been solved by using Excel. This will facilitate the students to learn the Excel functionality in analysing data in their research work while writing their project/thesis/dissertation.

5. What were your main objectives during the writing process? What did you set out to achieve in reaching your readers?

The main objectives while writing this text was to make the students understand all the statistical concepts in the simplest possible manner. The focus was to provide systematic presentation so that students are motivated to learn various concepts discussed in this text. I have noticed that students find it difficult to apply statistics to their research work and that they have to depend upon the costly software for for data analysis. Therefore, the text is organized in such a manner, that the students can get well-versed with Excel functionality to analyse most of their data in their respective research projects.

6. Were there areas of the book that you found more challenging to write, and if so, why?

Some of the areas were really challenging for me to write. It is very easy to make things complicated but it’s quite a challenge to make things simple. Hence I had to work very hard to explain some of the most difficult concepts in the easiest possible manner and this is the USP of my textbook too.

              J.P. Verma

7. What will be your next book-length undertaking?

I would like to write on research designs in my next project.

8. Please could you tell us more about your educational background and what was it that brought you to recognise statistics as a discipline in the first place?

I completed my MSc(Statistics) from Kanpur University and PhD in Mathematics from Jiwaji University. My PhD work was based on Bio-statistical modeling in Sports genetics. Besides this, I have done my MA(Psychology) and Master’s degree in Computer Application. I have secured 1st rank in MSC(Statistics) as well as in MA(Psychology) in the respective universities.

There is a general feeling that statistics is a difficult subject. My mission is to popularize statistics in the world and make this subject most interesting for the readers in different disciplines. I have already published the books titled Data Analysis in Management with SPSS Software, Statistics for Psychology and Statistical Methods for Sports and Physical Education. Management and Sports books are focused on using statistical techniques with SPSS software whereas the Statistics for Psychology is a text book for MA(Psychology).

9. I understand that you are an active researcher in sports modeling and data analysis and have conducted many workshops on research methodology, research designs, multivariate analysis, statistical modeling, and data analysis for students of management, physical education, social science, and economics. Have your teachings found their way into your book and helped support your writings?

Yes, it definitely has. This text is the result of my teaching statistics to students over the past three decades. Due to the interaction with my students in classroom teaching and interaction with the researchers and faculty during conducting numerous research workshops, I could understand the areas which the students find it difficult to understand, knew of assumptions which the researchers ignore and statistical designs which the researcher should follow in their research work. These feedbacks have supported me tremendously in planning of my book.

10. Are there people or events that have been influential in your career?

Yes, I am indebted to my numerous research scholars, students and professional colleagues and friends who consistently put challenges in front of me for providing solutions to their queries and research issues during the last few years.

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