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Statistics For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by Deborah J. Rumsey

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Chapter 4

Tools of the Trade

In This Chapter

  • Seeing statistics as a process, not just as numbers
  • Getting familiar with some basic statistical jargon

In today's world, the buzzword is data, as in, “Do you have any data to support your claim?” “What data do you have on this?” “The data supported the original hypothesis that …,” “Statistical data show that …,” and “The data bear this out ….” But the field of statistics is not just about data.

images Statistics is the entire process involved in gathering evidence to answer questions about the world, in cases where that evidence happens to be data.

In this chapter, you see firsthand how statistics works as a process and where the numbers play their part. You're also introduced to the most commonly used forms of statistical jargon, and you find out how these definitions and concepts all fit together as part of that process. So the next time you hear someone say, “This survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points,” you'll have a basic idea of what that means.

Statistics: More than Just Numbers

Statisticians don't just “do statistics.” Although the rest of the world views them as number crunchers, they think of themselves as the keepers of the scientific method. Of course, statisticians work with experts in other fields to satisfy their need for data, because man cannot live by statistics alone, but crunching someone's ...

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