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I am very new to statistical analysis and so I have a feeling that a lot of what is going to be discussed here will be over my head. Just graduating from college, I'd really like to continue learning by diving deeper into this subject. But I know I am lacking the fundamentals.

How, or when, should I post questions here about something I don't know? After doing some quick Googling on some of the initial questions, I found that there weren't many "plain english" explanation of terms or concepts.

I want to learn about this stuff and I'm sure plenty of other n00bs want to as well. Do you guys/gals have some suggestions on when the right time to ask a question on statexchange is and when it is better to go off and research by yourself?

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My two different suggestions.

  1. Fundamental questions are going to be asked anyway (in fact, they already are; e.g., standard deviation, p & t values, normality), so ask away. If the answers don't meet your need, try to clarify what you don't understand or how the answers could be more helpful to you. The submitted answers should get better as more people have a chance to chime in. If they reach a level that the community deems "good enough" they can become canonical.

  2. I would suggest that you check the obvious places (e.g., simple.wikipedia.org/, wikiversity.org). You're bound to still have questions, even after going over those resources, and those subsequent questions would probably be perfect to ask here. In conjunction with this, if you have references you would recommend users check first, please add them as an answer to What resources should I review before I ask a basic question?

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    $\begingroup$ +1 I would like to emphasize the following two points from the above answer: 1. Search elsewhere (wiki, google) first. 2. Digest the material that you find and ask questions reg the topic that you still do not understand. $\endgroup$ – svadali Jul 20 '10 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, both with the above answer and Srikant. To emphasize: when people know that you've put in some effort, they're much more likely to put in theirs. $\endgroup$ – Matt Parker Jul 20 '10 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ While I agree with the overall content of this answer I have to disagree strongly about the suggestion of "simple wiki". If this was suggested to a question of mine I would probably get offended. While I might not be a native speaker I am pretty confident in my english, and most of problems with statistics articles on wikipedia are due to plain bad formulation rather than complexity of the english used.. Anyways that's my two cents. $\endgroup$ – posdef Nov 5 '12 at 17:41

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