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Descriptive Statistics

Stages of Statistical Enquiry

Over the years, the field of statistics has evolved as a comprehensive discipline providing analytical tools to interpret huge volumes of data. Further, these tools help in the decision-making process an scientific inquiry. Statistics concerns itself with the collection, organization, presentation, analysis, and interpretation of numerical data. In this article, we will look at the various stages of Statistical Enquiry.

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Definitions of Statistics

Statistics refers to the classified facts representing the conditions of the people in the State … especially those facts which can be stated in numbers or in tables of numbers or in any tabular classified arrangement.” – Webster

Statistics are a collection of noteworthy facts concerning state both historical and descriptive.” – Gottfried and Achenwall

Statistics is an aggregate knowledge brought together for a practical end namely the knowledge of concrete states.” – Wappans

statistical enquiry

                                                                                                                                                Source: Pixabay

Definition of statistics as a Statistical Method:

Statistics may be called as the science of counting.” – A.L. Bowley

Statistics may be rightly called the science of averages.” – A.L. Bowley

Statistics is the science which deals with classification and tabulation of numerical facts as the basis for explanation, description, and comparison of phenomena.” – Lovin

Browse more Topics under Descriptive Statistics

Stages of Statistical Enquiry

Here is a brief detail about the different stages of a statistical inquiry:

Collecting Data

The collection of statistical data is one of the most important aspects of a statistical inquiry. In this stage, you collect relevant data from multiple sources – both primary and secondary in nature. The source is primary if the data (either published or unpublished) is originally collected by an investigator or an agency.

On the other hand, the source is secondary if the data (published or unpublished) is taken from an agency or a person who have already used the data for their statistical requirements. It is also important to note that the difference between primary and secondary data is a matter of degree alone.

Organizing and Presenting Numerical Data

While conducting a statistical inquiry, the second important stage is the collection and presentation of numerical data. When you collect data, the secondary source usually provides it in an organized form. However, data from the primary source is “raw” and unorganized.

Therefore, you need to edit, classify, and tabulate the data in order to organize it. Editing data involves the removal of omissions, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies present in the data.

Further, classifying data involves bringing together the data items which have common characteristics. Subsequently, you put the data in a tabular format and present it well. The presentation is either in the form of a chart, diagram, graph, etc.

Analyzing the Numerical Data

Once the data is collected, organized, and presented, it is important to analyze the numerical data in order to get a better understanding of the subject matter. You can use some popular measures to analyze numerical data like:

  • Averages or measures of the central tendency
  • Dispersion
  • Correlation
  • Skewness
  • Regression
  • Association and Attributes
  • Interpolation and Extrapolation, etc.

Further, in order to simplify the data, you can use probability and distribution, sampling, index numbers, variance analysis, and time series.

Interpreting the Numerical Data

Once you have analyzed the numerical data, you must draw conclusions and inferences from it. This is the interpretation of numerical data. It is a sensitive and difficult task requiring a high degree of skill, experience, common sense, and also a sense of balanced judgment of the investigator.

Further, if the investigator misinterprets the data, then he might draw conclusions which lead to a waste of time and resources. This can eventually defeat the purpose of the statistical inquiry.

Solved Question

Q1. What are the stages of a statistical inquiry?

Answer: The stages of a statistical inquiry are:

  • Collection of data
  • Organization and Presentation of the numerical data
  • Analysis of the numerical data
  • Interpretation of the numerical data
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