In today’s article we are going to look at what people generally think about statistics as subject and what does it actually deal with. People view statistics in many different ways depending upon their background or experience. Most consider statistics a subject which deals with percentages, charts, graphs, averages and tables. Others see statistics as methods and techniques of collecting and presenting large amount of numerical information. Some people also think that statistics is about making inferences about population on basis of sample information.
In fact the word “statistics” was derived from Latin word “status”, meaning a political state. Originally it was a field with focus on information useful to the state such as information about sizes of populations and armed forces. It also used to refer to numerical facts systematically arranged in the first place. That’s the reason why the word statistics is always used in the plural.
The statistical information has a wide range of application including but not limited to following:
- To inform general public about political or social phenomenon.
- To explain things that have happened.
- To justify a claim or decision.
- To describe general comparisons of some population.
- To make prediction about future outcomes.
- To estimate the unknown quantities.
- To establish association or relationship between factors.
That show that statistics is a subject which is much more than just numbers. It tells you what is done to or with numbers.
Suppose we want to determine best teacher at school. How should we do that? Obviously we would need to students of school who is the best teacher in their opinion. That means we will have to collect data, analyze it and then make decision. As we perform this survey, we would need to answer many questions such as:
- Should we survey every student?
- How to conduct the survey?
- How to analyze the data?
- How to determine the best teacher?
In order to answer these and other questions, we rely on statistical techniques.