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Introduction to Statistics

Table of Contents

Background

In ancient time, human beings used Statistics even unknowingly. They kept the information regarding daily life activities such as records of their cattle, properties, crops etc. States used Statistics only to keep information regarding the number of police, soldiers etc. It took long time to understand the importance and application of Statistics formally. Development country like Britain also started to realize Statistics knowingly after the Napoleonic war. During the war, there were massive destruction of lives and properties. In order to fulfill the loss occurred in the war, they realized to formulate the special economic policies. In order to cater these needs, they started to use Statistics in formal ways. Therefore it can be argued that the origin of Statistics had been stared with the origin of the development of human society simultaneously.

First comprehensive work on numerical interpretation of biological and social phenomenon is due to John Graunt, who published a book in 1662 based on both birth and death records gathered in plague stricken England. Shortly thereafter, Sir William Petty began developing theory what become known as Political Arithmetic,” the art of reasoning by figures upon things relating to government.” By 1700, the work of Edmund Hally on mortality tables and life expectancy had established statistical inference as a science both vaible and eminently worthwhile. Nowadays it has become very popular and widely used almost every field in the universe.

Meaning and Definition of Statistics

The word Statistics has been derived form the Latin word ‘Status’, Italian word ‘Statista’ and German word ‘Statistik’ each of which means a political state. The word Statistics may also be used in any one of the following two senses.

  • Quantitative information of facts or simply data.
  • Statistical methods for handling numerical data.

The first is used in the plural sense. Considering Statistics in the plural sense, it is used as the numerical set of data. The second is used in the singular sense. Considering it in the singular sense, it is the science of statistical methods embodying the theory and techniques used for collecting, analyzing and making inferences from numerical data.

There is not a single definition of Statistics since the field of application of statistics has been widening day by day. As the field of applicability is extended, the definition of Statistics needs to be modified. Hence it has been defined in a wider domain. Some comprehensive definitions are as follows.

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In the plural sense, a comprehensive given by Horace Secrist is:

Definiton

“Statistics are aggregates of facts affected to a marked extent by multiplicity of cause, numerically expressed, enumerated or estimated according to reasonable standard of accuracy, collected in a systematic manner for a predetermined purpose and placed in relation to each other.”

In the singular sense, the word ‘Statistics refers to statistical principles and methods dealing with the collection, description, analysis and interpretation of data. A comprehensive definition given by Croxton and Cowden is:

Definition

“Statistics may be defined as the collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.”

Hence, statistics may be defined as follows considering it in singular sense as well as in plural sense.

Definition

“Statistics is a science which is the combination of the numerical statements of facts capable of analysis and interpretation and the study of the principles, the methods applied in collecting, presenting, analysis and interpreting the numerical data in any field of investigation.

Statistics may also be classified into two parts, which are as follows.

  • Theoretical Statistics or Mathematical Statistics
  • Applied Statistics

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