The Nature of Data
Collecting and analyzing data allow us to better understand the world around us. Statistical analysis involves observing characteristics of some phenomenon, recording data in a highly organized matter, and then processing the data using formal equations based on probability theory. The first step of performing such analyses is to determine the type of data present and then to describe it. The manner in which you describe the data depends on what type of data it is. Describing data can take the form of reporting single numbers that describe properties of the data or creating visual displays of the data. Statistical tests based on the data allow us to answer specific hypotheses about relationships between observable characteristics. There are many different statistical tests for different types of data. Probability theory allows us to draw conclusions about populations from descriptive statistics and statistical tests based on a sample of data from the population.
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