Define the Term Statistics.

The term statistics has been defined in singular sense as well as plural sense.

Statistics in Singular Sense: 

In singular sense, the term statistics has been defined as statistical methods. The best definition of statistics in singular sense has been given by Croxton and Cowden. According to Croxton and Cowden “Statistics may be defined as the science of collection, presentation., analysis and interpretation of numerical data.” The above definition reveals the following stages of statistical inquiry.

Collection of data: This is the first step in a statistical study and is the foundation of statistical analysis. Under this stage, data are collected from various sources Primary or Secondary. When data are collected originally by an investigator or agency, these are called primary data. When data are collected from published or unpublished data which have already been collected by some other agency, these are called secondary data.

Organisation and presentation of data : Figures that are collected by an investigator need to be organized by editing, classifying and tabulating. Data collected and organised are presented in some systematic manner to make statistical analysis easier..The organized data may be presented with the help of tables, graphs and diagrams.

Analysis of data : The next stage is the analysis of the presented data. There are large number of statistical measures which are used to analyse the data such as averages, dispersion, correlation, regression etc.

Interpretation of data : Interpretation of data implies drawing of conclusions on the basis of data analyzed in the earlier stage. Interpretation of data requires high degree of skill, experience and common sense.

Statistics in Plural Sense: In plural sense, the term statistics has been defined as statistical methods. The best definition of statistics in plural sense has been given by Horace Secrist Horace Secrist, has defined statistics as aggregates of facts affected to a marked extent by multiplicity of causes, numerically expressed, enumerated or estimated according to reasonable standard of accuracy, collected in. a system manner for a pre-determined purpose and placed in relation to each other. As per this definition ; following are the characteristics of statistics.

  1. Statistics are aggregates of facts : Single and isolated figures do not constitute statistics because such figures are unrelated and cannot be compared. For ex. if  X’s income is Rs. 80,000 per annum, it would not constitute statistics.
  2. Statistics are affected to a marked extent by multiplicity of causes: For ex. statistics of production of rice are affected by the rainfall, quality of soil, seeds and manure, method of cultivation etc. It is very difficult to study separately the effect of each of these forces on the production of rice.
  3. Statistics are numerically expressed : All statistics are expressed in numbers. Qualitative statements such as “The population of India is
    increasing rapidly” does not constitute statistics.
  4. Statistics are enumerated or estimated according to reasonable standards of accuracy : For ex. number of students in a class would be obtained by counting whereas the number of people who witnessed the Republic Day parade would be an estimate.
  5. Statistics are collected in a systematic manner according to a suitable plan.
  6. Statistics are collected for a pre-determined purpose : The purpose should be specific and well defined.
  7. Statistics should be placed in relation to each other: Statistical data are often compared period wise or region wise. For ex. Population of India for the year 2007 can be compared with the Population of China for the same year.

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