# The General Decision Problem

Part of the Springer Texts in Statistics book series (STS)

The raw material of a statistical investigation is a set of observations; these are the values taken on by random variables X whose distribution P θ is at least partly unknown. Of the parameter θ, which labels the distribution, it is assumed known only that it lies in a certain set Ω, the parameter space. Statistical inference is concerned with methods of using this observational material to obtain information concerning the distribution of X or the parameter θ with which it is labeled. To arrive at a more precise formulation of the problem we shall consider the purpose of the inference.

The above discussion suggests that the aim of statistics is the selection of a decision function which minimizes the resulting risk. As will be seen later, this statement of aims is not sufficiently precise to be meaningful; its proper interpretation is in fact one of the basic problems of the theory. The above discussion suggests that the aim of statistics is the selection of a decision function which minimizes the resulting risk. As will be seen later, this statement of aims is not sufficiently precise to be meaningful; its proper interpretation is in fact one of the basic problems of the theory.

## Keywords

Loss Function Decision Problem Conditional Distribution Decision Procedure Risk Function
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