Meaning and scope of statistics

in College

Statistics is concerned with scientific methods for collecting, organising, summarising, presenting and analysing data as well as deriving valid conclusions and making reasonable decisions on the basis of this analysis. Statistics is concerned with the systematic collection of numerical data and its interpretation.

The word ‘statistic’ is used to refer to

1. Numerical facts, such as the number of people living in particular area.

2. The study of ways of collecting, analysing and interpreting the facts.

Statistics has been defined in two different ways – Statistical data and statistical methods.

 The following are some of the definitions of statistics as numerical data.

1. Statistics are the classified facts representing the conditions of people in a state. In particular they are the facts, which can be stated in numbers or in tables of numbers or in any

tabular or classified arrangement.

2. Statistics are measurements, enumerations or estimates of natural phenomenon usually systematically arranged, analysed and presented as to exhibit important interrelationships

among them.

Statistics is defined differently by different authors over a period of time.

Definition by Croxton and Cowden: Statistics may be defined as the science of collection, presentation analysis and interpretation of numerical data from the logical analysis. It is clear that the definition of statistics by Croxton and Cowden is the most scientific and realistic one.

According to this definition there are four stages:

1. Collection of Data: It is the first step and this is the foundation upon which the entire data set. Careful planning is essential before collecting the data. There are different methods of collection of data such as census, sampling, primary, secondary, etc., and the

Investigator should make use of correct method.

2. Presentation of data: The mass data collected should be presented in a suitable, concise form for further analysis. The collected data may be presented in the form of tabular or

Diagrammatic or graphic form.

3. Analysis of data: The data presented should be carefully analysed for making inference from the presented data such as measures of central tendencies, dispersion, correlation, regression etc.,

4. Interpretation of data: The final step is drawing conclusion from the data collected. A valid conclusion must be drawn on the basis of analysis. A high degree of skill and experience is necessary for the interpretation.


Statistics is not a mere device for collecting numerical data, as a means of developing sound techniques for their handling analysing and drawing valid inferences from them. Statistics is applied in every sphere of human activity – social as well as physical – like Biology, Commerce, Education, Planning, Business Management, Information Technology, etc. It is almost impossible to find a single department of human activity where statistics Cannot be applied.

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Meaning and scope of statistics

This article was published on 2012/03/15