Reference Terms

# Statistics

Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection, analysis, interpretation or explanation, and presentation of data.

It is applicable to a wide variety of academic disciplines, from the physical and social sciences to the humanities.

Statistics are also used for making informed decisions.

Statistical methods can be used to summarize or describe a collection of data; this is called descriptive statistics.

In addition, patterns in the data may be modeled in a way that accounts for randomness and uncertainty in the observations, and then used to draw inferences about the process or population being studied; this is called inferential statistics.

Both descriptive and inferential statistics comprise applied statistics.

There is also a discipline called mathematical statistics, which is concerned with the theoretical basis of the subject.

A common goal for a statistical research project is to investigate causality, and in particular to draw a conclusion on the effect of changes in the values of predictors or independent variables on response or dependent variables.

There are two major types of causal statistical studies, experimental studies and observational studies.

In both types of studies, the effect of differences of an independent variable (or variables) on the behavior of the dependent variable are observed.

The difference between the two types is in how the study is actually conducted.

Each can be very effective.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Statistics", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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