MATH 216 Section 1.1

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1.1 - An Overview of Statistics Data consist of information coming from observations, counts, measurements, or responses. The use of statistics dates back to census taking in ancient Babylonia, Egypt, and later in the Roman Empire, when data were collected about matters concerning the state, such as births and deaths. In fact, the word statistics is derived from the Latin word status, meaning "state." Statistics is the science of collecting, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data in order to make decisions. There are two types of data sets you will use when studying statistics: 1. A population is the collection of all outcomes, responses, measurements, or counts that are of interest. 2. A sample is a subset, or part, of a population. A sample is used to gain information about a population. A sample should be representative of a population so that sample data can be used to draw conclusions about that population. A parameter is a numerical description of a population characteristic. A statistic is a numerical description of a sample characteristic. The study of statistics has two major branches: 1. Descriptive statistics is the branch of statistics that involves the organization, summarization, and display of data. 2. Inferential statistics is the branch of statistics that involves using a sample to draw conclusions about a population. A basic tool in the study of inferential statistics is probability. (You will learn more about probability in Chapter 3)
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