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What is statistics?

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Any business major students have to take at least one statistics class. Some like it, some do not. I took my first statistics class at the end of my freshmen year and fell in love with it. Right now I am taking econometrics class, which is basically statistics with some economics “flavors.”

So, what is statistics all about?

-A branch of applied mathematics concerned with the collection and interpretation of quantitative data and the use of probability theory to estimate population parameters (www.wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)

-The science of making effective use of numerical data relating to groups of individuals or experiments. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistics)

Statistics is math, yes, but it is much more simple math, compared to calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, or discrete mathematics that I have no idea what they are for and about. I am not saying statistics is a super easy subject, since I have only learned the most basic concepts in business statistics so far in my undergraduate studies.

For me, statistics is like playing with data, with numbers, in order to get some useful information. More often, it is hard to avoid bias in statistics or econometrics, but let’s not talk about that right now.

Looking into a statistics textbook, we would see more words rather than equations or formula. Yes, doing a statistics problem is like doing a math word problem. The data contains number, yes, but most of the time we will have to interpret the results in words. Don’t be scared, yet. It is not like we are all required to write an intensive report in every statistics problem. =P

Doesn’t sound quite interesting, huh? I hope my further posts in statistics from a student point of view would somehow make statistics sound less boring to you. =)

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