I am working in hospital processing infection data, and start to read more and more articles on regressions and statistics, having realized that my mathematics background is not sufficient for me to handle all the maths inside the article. I plan to do some self-study.

I have seen from here that calculus and linear algebra is needed for going further in biostatistics, I am thinking of finding some textbook for that, preferably free textbook online.

And one more question, which one should I start first? Calculus or algebra?

I know this may not be relevant to be asked here, but can anyone here kindly give me some suggestions that I can start my reading? Thanks.


2 Answers 2


Jeff Gill has a good book, on Essential Mathematics for Social and Political Research: http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Mathematics-Political-Research-Analytical/dp/052168403X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301047912&sr=8-2

I found it quite useful for getting a good overview of linear algebra and calculus. He only assumes knowledge of basic algebra (i.e. x+y=2 etc). Despite the name, its a good read for anyone interested in bringing their maths up to the level required for reading journal articles and multivariate textbooks.


As far as learning the information on slide 6 in the slideshow you linked to, I would suggest A Mathematical Primer for Social Statistics by John Fox (not free but cheap, Google book link). All of those sage green books are aimed at individuals with only a very brief statistics background.

If you are interested in taking that specific class I would also suggest you ask the professor for a syllabus and maybe some example problems. Although the professor did not state any preferred reference mathematical book I would imagine if pressed they could give some recommendations.


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