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What is Statistics?

What is Statistics?

Author: Dan Laub

This lesson will introduce learners to statistics.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] The primary goal of this course is simple. It is to introduce you to common statistics concepts and help you to understand them in a manner that is simple and uses everyday language with familiar examples. To build a house, one must start with a foundation. So think of this course is the foundation for more advanced and detailed statistics material that you may choose to learn at another point in time.

Now that you have a basic idea of what this course is about, let me introduce myself. My name is Dan Laub. And I've been teaching at the college level for over a decade now.

Prior to my teaching career, I spent 12 years working in the financial services industry, including five years in a trading room for a Wall Street firm. My business experience, as well as my experience teaching hundreds of students seeking a career in the business world, provides me with a motivation to teach concepts that can be used and not simply covered in class and forgotten about weeks later.

While the mere mention of statistics, like the math that one uses to study them, makes many people feel uncomfortable, my goal is to break it down into understandable pieces, so that you can realize just how intuitive a lot of statistics really is. The beauty of statistics is that if any subject can be applied to the world we live in, statistics is clearly it.

We see statistics all around us, every day and nearly everywhere. Whether it's in a weather forecast, polling data, or at work, statistics are commonly used to communicate what is seen in the world around us.

My goal for this course is for you to be able to not only interpret the statistics that others present, but for you to also be able to do your own analysis and to be able to effectively communicate it with others.

Now that you have some background on the course and the motivation behind it, let's start off with what statistics actually is. The key focus of the field of statistics is the study of data and information and how one can interpret and communicate that information in useful ways. One major goal of statistics is to collect reliable information, analyze it, and interpret it in order to learn more about the people and the world around us.

In many cases we use statistical methods to answer questions about nature and society. However, they can be applied to many different situations and contexts.

Since we are constantly encountering statistics in the world we live in, having a sound knowledge of statistical concepts can be quite useful. For instance, what does it mean when a news anchor tells us that 52% of the population disagrees with what a particular political candidate says? How do they arrive at that number?

Or what if we read that the average person carries more than $10,000 in credit card debt? What is an average person? And how does one find out how much debt they have?

One great aspect of understanding more about statistics and how they are generated and analyzed is that doing so can help us in all of these situations and provides us with a greater ability to interpret the meaning of the statistics that we typically encounter.

One key goal of this course is to introduce basic statistical concepts in a manner in which you can relate to, being able to apply them to things you encounter in everyday life. Once you complete the course, you would be better prepared to succeed in a college level statistics course.

So again, my name is Dan Laub. And let's get started.