Introduction to Descriptive Statistics

Statistics are all around us. In fact it would be difficult to go through a full week without using statistics.

Imagine watching a football game where no one kept score. The action itself might provide enough excitement to hold your attention for a while, but think of all the drama that would be lost if winning and losing weren't at issue.

Imagine going to the grocery store and trying to find the best buy on a box of doggie treats for your dog, Fluffy. Without statistics this task would come down to simple guess work. You could never know for sure if that worthless mutt were getting the best (cheapest) treats for your dollar.

Without statistics we couldn't plan our budgets, pay our taxes, enjoy games to their fullest, evaluate classroom performance... Are you beginning to get the picture? We need statistics.

Let's take a look at the most basic form of statistics, known as descriptive statistics. This branch of statistics lays the foundation for all statistical knowledge (pretty important, huh?), but it is not something that you should learn simply so you can use it in the distant future. Descriptive statistics can be used NOW, in English class, in physics class, in history, at the football stadium, in the grocery store. You probably already know more about these statistics than you think.

Continue to the next page.

If you like, you may skip to one of the following topics:
  • Mode
  • Median
  • Mean
  • Central Tendency
  • Variation
  • Range
  • Variance
  • Standard Deviation

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