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Statistics Overview

Statistics Overview

Author: Jonathan Osters

Differentiate between inferential and descriptive statistics.

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Video Transcription

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So you might be wondering, as you begin the course, what is statistics? This video's going to provide you with an overview of what statistics really is. So, you might be wondering, what is statistics? Is it this? Some complicated formula? Is this? Some goofy graph that you really don't know that much about? Or maybe is it this? This is an old quote, and it's very commonly applied to statistics and when people don't understand.

Honestly though, really statistics is all about-- when people refer to statistics, they're usually referring to information called data that's been collected and synthesized somehow, either in a graphical form, like this. This is called bar graph. And in a numerical forms, like this. The median household income in the United States is about $46 thousand.

The practice of statistics deals with these four concepts here. You collect the information from a variety of sources. You then proceed to analyze that information that you've collected. You interpret what that analysis means. And then you present it in a way that anyone can understand. And you're going to learn how to do all those things. And, in all honesty, statistics is a neat way to describe a messy world. It's not pretty all the time. But statistics allows us a way to simplify things down.

You're going to analyze what's going on either at a particular point-- and that's using statistics to describe your formation that you've obtained. Or you can use the statistics that you've obtained to try and make a generalization about a larger population. For instance, this information didn't come from sampling every household in the United States. But they somehow arrived at this number. So, how did they get that? Well, they did a sample, and they tried to then make a generalization about the entire United States based on that sample. Those are called descriptive statistics, when you describe just what's going on with the information you have a hand. Or inferential statistics, where you try and make some kind of larger generalization.

So, to recap, statistics allows us to synthesize the information we get from the world around us. And the key terms that we've seen are studies, statistical analysis, descriptive statistics, and inferential statistics. And you're going to be using all of these terms as you move forward in your study of statistics. Good luck.

Terms to Know
Descriptive statistics

Using only the information at hand to describe the selected group of individuals

Inferential statistics

Using the information at hand to make a larger, more general statement about the entire population of individuals

Statistical analysis

All the ways of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data

Statistical study

A way to collect information from individuals


The study of collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting information