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1.4 Statistics Can Be Misused

In one factory which I know, workers were accusing the management for not providing them with proper working conditions. In support they quoted the number of accidents. When I considered the matter more seriously, I found that most of the staff was inexperienced and thus responsible for those accidents. Moreover many of the accidents were either minor or fake. I compared the working conditions of this factory to other factories and I found the conditions far better in this factory. Thus by merely noting the number of accidents and complaints of the workers, I would not dare to say that the working conditions were worse. On the other hand due to the proper statistical knowledge and careful observations I came to conclusion that the management was right.

Thus the usefulness of the statistics depends to a great extent upon its user. If used properly, by an efficient and unbiased statistician, it will prove to be an efficient tool.

Collection of facts and figures and deriving meaningful information from them is an important program.

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As an example, suppose "Jerry Greval" has a shoe company. His company wants to establish their business in India, particularly in Mumbai. Let us see a few ways in which statistics will be useful to him.

1. He does not wish to manufacture equal quantities of shoes ranging from size 1 to 10. Jerry would like to know which sizes are more in demand and which are in less demand. Knowing this they can devise the manufacturing strategy.

2. Now the company wants to advertise the ’Brand name’ and thus their product in the market. To make the product popular the brand name must be attractive: Jerry selects the name ’Strong foot ’. The ‘Strong foot’ and its qualities have to be made to look appealing to the people in Mumbai and this requires publicity. Nothing is more appealing than what has been said in one’s own mother-tongue. So Jerry wants to print and distribute leaflets among people For this he needs to know the mother-tongues of various groups of people in Mumbai. This information is the most important factor of his business. In order to get this information, his company will have to appoint personnel who will go from door to door and find out the necessary information about the shoe market, people’s choice, their mother tongue etc. This process is known as taking a survey. The objects under study are known as Individuals or Units and the collection of individuals is known as the population.

Often it is not possible or practical to record observations of all the individuals of the groups from different areas, which comprise the population. In such a case observations are recorded of only some of the individuals of the population, selected at random. This selection of some individuals which will be a subset of the individuals in the original group, is called a Sample; i.e. instead of an entire population survey which would be time-consuming, the company will manage with a ‘Sample survey’ which can be completed in a shorter time.

Note that if a sample is representative of the whole population, any conclusion drawn from a statistical treatment of the sample would hold reasonably good for the population. This will of course, depend on the proper selection of the sample. One of the aims of statistics is to draw inferences about the population by a statistical treatment of samples.

Thus, choosing a random sample is a critical part of the statistical process and we will discuss this in more details in the chapter "Sampling."

Index

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