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Chapter 6Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion: Data Distributions

There are three related, but quite different, uses of statistics. The first of these uses is descriptive. In a descriptive context, statistics are used to characterize either a total population or a sample from that population, but they go no further than characterization. The second use of statistics is inferential. In an inferential context, statistics from a sample are used to make inferences about the populations from which the samples were drawn. The third use of statistics is in hypothesis testing. Here, statistics are used to assign a probability to the likelihood that a particular statistical value could have come from some specifiable population, that two (or more) sample (or population) groups are different from one another, or that a measure taken from a sample (or from a population) is of a particular value. This chapter deals with the first of these uses of statistics: description. Subsequent chapters cover ...

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