What is Statistics?

This short article is for those who are interested in learning about statistics with zero knowledge about it. I thought it would be a good start to know few definitions about statistics, in general.

I am in love with Statistics.


Most people associate the term statistics with masses of numbers or, perhaps, with tables and graphs that display them and with averages and similar measures that summarize them. This mental image is reinforced daily as people encounter numerical information in newspapers, magazines, and on television screens: on the prices of bonds and stocks, on the performance of businesses and sports teams, on the movements of exchange rates and commodity futures, on the rates of unemployment and inflation–the list goes on. It is not surprising, therefore, that people who think about statistics not in the plural sense of the word, but in the singular (that is, as a field of study) imagine it to deal with the collection and presentation of numbers. As a matter of fact, this widely held view quite accurately depicts the original concern of the discipline as well as the continuing concern of one of its modern branches, called descriptive statistics.

Descriptive Statistics

A branch of the discipline that is concerned with developing and utilizing techniques for the effective presentation of numerical information so as to highlight patterns otherwise hidden in a data set is called descriptive statistics.

Analytical Statistics

A branch of the discipline that is concerned with developing and utilizing techniques for properly analyzing (or drawing inferences from) numerical information is called analytical statistics or inferential statistics.

Statistics–A Universal Guide to the Unknown

According to one widely held view, statistics is best defined as that branch of mathematics that concerned with facilitating wise decision making in the face of uncertainty and that, therefore, develops and utilizes techniques for the careful collection, effective presentation, and proper analysis of numerical information. This definition clearly incorporates both descriptive and analytical statistics. Jointly, the two branches help decision makers extract the maximum usefulness from limited information. On the other hand, tables, graphs, and summary calculations highlight patterns otherwise buried in unorganized data. On the other hand, proper inferences provide reasonable estimates of things unknown, along with clearly stated probabilities of such estimates being right or wrong. Like mathematics in general, statistics is a universal type of language that is regularly used by all sciences.

Thank you for reading. See you in next post!


Kohler, H., 1994. Statistics For Business And Economics. 3rd ed. New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, pp.2-4.

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