Like any applied skill, mastering statistical analysis requires:

1. building a body of knowledge

2. adeptness of the tools of the trade (aka software package)

3. practice applying the knowledge and using the tools in a realistic, meaningful context.

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In fixed-effects models (e.g., regression, ANOVA, generalized linear models), there is only one source of random variability. This source of variance is the random sample we take to measure our variables.

It may be patients in a health facility, for whom we take various measures of their medical history to estimate their probability of recovery. Or random variability may come from individual students in a school system, and we use demographic information to predict their grade point averages.

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