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1.1 What is Statistics

The word 'Statistics' is derived from the Latin word 'Statis' which means a "political state." Clearly, statistics is closely linked with the administrative affairs of a state such as facts and figures regarding defense force, population, housing, food, financial resources etc. What is true about a government is also true about industrial administration units, and even one’s personal life.

The word statistics has several meanings. In the first place, it is a plural noun which describes a collection of numerical data such as employment statistics, accident statistics, population statistics, birth and death, income and expenditure, of exports and imports etc. It is in this sense that the word 'statistics' is used by a layman or a newspaper.

Secondly the word statistics as a singular noun, is used to describe a branch of applied mathematics, whose purpose is to provide methods of dealing with a collections of data and extracting information from them in compact form by tabulating, summarizing and analyzing the numerical data or a set of observations.

The various methods used are termed as statistical methods and the person using them is known as a statistician. A statistician is concerned with the analysis and interpretation of the data and drawing valid worthwhile conclusions from the same.

It is in the second sense that we are writing this guide on statistics.

Lastly the word statistics is used in a specialized sense. It describes various numerical items which are produced by using statistics ( in the second sense ) to statistics ( in the first sense ). Averages, standard deviation etc. are all statistics in this specialized third sense.

The word ’statistics’ in the first sense is defined by Professor Secrit as follows:-

"By statistics we mean aggregate of facts affected to a marked extent by multiplicity of causes, numerically expressed, enumerated or estimated according to reasonable standard of accuracy, collected in a systematic manner for a predetermined purpose and placed in relation to each other."

This definition gives all the characteristics of statistics which are (1) Aggregate of facts (2) Affected by multiplicity of causes (3) Numerically expressed (4) Estimated according to reasonable standards of accuracy (5) Collected in a systematic manner (6) Collected for a predetermined purpose (7) Placed in relation to each other.

The word 'statistics' in the second sense is defined by Croxton and Cowden as follows:-

"The collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of the numerical data."

This definition clearly points out four stages in a statistical investigation, namely:

1) Collection of data     2) Presentation of data
3) Analysis of data        4) Interpretation of data

In addition to this, one more stage i.e. organization of data is suggested.



1.1 What is Statistics
1.2 Uses
1.3 Distrust of Statistics
1.4 Statistics can be misused
1.5 Types of Statistics
1.6 Common mistakes committed in interpretation of Statistics
1.7 Glossary Of Terms

Chapter 2

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