The Use of Statistics Today

Statistics is basically the science of using math in the collection, interpretation and analysis of data. It can be used in a wide array of academic fields including physical and social sciences. Statistics are also heavily used when making business and government decision as it can be used to plot certain financial trends.

Various statistical methods are used to plot data in a way that it creates a model. Based on that model predictions can be made and in some cases can even take randomness and other irregularities and determine a pattern. Two types of statistics are descriptive and inferential statistics. Both are considered by experts to be part of applied statistics.

Many of the statistics originally used by governments were used to address public health, economic and social issues. Statistics are used to define patterns that can affect the general welfare of a government's population. Today their use has gone far beyond their original implication and is used by both individuals and organizations to make sense of data. Statistics help companies to make informed decisions about growth and diversification. Individuals are able to use statistics for a wide variety of reasons as well. It is common for "arm chair" investors to rely on statistical data in order to make a decision about the future of a company. While statistics can't be used to predict the financial future of a company, they can help to plot trends that would be useful in determining what kind of risk a company will be for its investors.

Statistics and Problem Solving

Using statistics to solve problems begins with a process that includes gathering data from a variety of sources. If for example the problem is one involving a specific society, the data collected would all be related to various aspects of that society. This may include population information including age, sex and race as an example. It may also be necessary to determine what types of activities the population and so forth engage in. With statistics any number of factors can be plotted to develop a useful model. The statistics are gathered based on whether the study is experimental or observational. Today's technology has made it much easier to collect and interpret statistical data. Much of this software is available to the average consumer. This software is continually evolving to allow greater flexibility and to provide more detailed models.

It is sometimes felt however, that data can be manipulated and misused. In some cases that is true, data can sometimes be interpreted in a way that would seem favorable to one party, usually the company or organization funding the study. Important studies are usually conducted by several 3rd party organizations in order to make sure that the models provided are as accurate as possible. The field of statistics is continually growing and as refinements are made to the software used today, the statistical models will only become more accurate.

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