Social Research Glossary A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home
Citation reference: Harvey, L., 201218, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/socialresearch/ This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any email suggestions for additions or amendments.

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Statistics
Refers to numerical techniques for analysing data and also to data collected and presented as (often official) statistics.
Statistics refers to statistical techniques. which are usually divided into 'descriptive' and 'inferential'. Descriptive statistics describe a sample or a population, usually via measures of central tendency (average) or measures of dispersion. Tabulation is also a means to describe data.
Inferential statistical techniques attempt to draw inferences about a population on the basis of sample data. Significance testing is a major approach to inferring population parameters.
Statistical techniques such as correlation, regression, multivariate analysis and factor analysis are used to show the relationship between variables.
Statistics also refers to as collected and presented data. For example, a claim might be made that the 'statistics demonstrate that the policy hasn't worked', meaning that available statistical data supports a particular argument. Statistics, like any other fact, do not speak for themselves and indeed are highly dependent on the context and theoretical basis upon which they are collected and presented (they are theory laden).
See also official statistics for an overview of governmentproduced data.
Mumford (2011) writes:
Statistics is the study of how to collect, organize, analyze, and interpret numerical information from data. Descriptive statistics involves methods of organizing, picturing and summarizing information from data. Inferential statistics involves methods of using information from a sample to draw conclusions about the population.
The term “Statistics” is used in two different senses and therefore conveys two different meaning....When used in the plural number, the term “Statistics” refers to the Subjectmatter of statistics, i.e. numerical data or number reflecting count or measurement or estimate of some kind. In common parlance the term statistics is used in this sense synonymously with the term data e.g. we hear “statistic of exports & imports” or “Statistics of prices in Pakistan”. Here the term is used in the plural number and refers to data (or figures) concerning exports & imports and prices”
The other sense in which the term Statistics is used in singular. Used in this sense, it refers to the subject of statistics as a whole. It then denotes a subject that deals with principles and method of handling numerical data.
See also
Researching the Real World Section 8
AlSaudia Virtual Academy, 'Statistics defined, available at http://pakistanonlinetuition.com/statistics/statistics_notes/STATISTICS%20DEFINED.pdf, accessed 8 May 2013, still available 28 December 2016.
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