Introduction to statistics


Statistics [is] the analysis and interpretation of data,hprocess that allows investigators to objectively evaluate data they collect and draw conclusions about patterns observed in the data." (Spyridakis 1991:  208)

Statistics is concerned with the analysis of observed facts which have been expressed as numbers. These numbers may be test scores, linear measurements, frequencies of occurrence, numbers of people, etc." (Elzey 1966: 5)

Everything dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation and representation of numerical data is called statistics." (Mahlangu 1987: 93)


Role of statistics in research

1.         Statistics may point you to the centre of the mass of data. (centrality)

2.         Statistics may suggest to you how diversified the data are. (dispersal/spread)

3.         Statistics may reveal to you how closely or distantly certain features within the mass of data are related. (association)

4.         Statistics may indicate to you the degree to which the facts might have occurred by mere chance or whether there is a probability of their having been influenced by some force other than pure happenstance. (association/causation)

(Leedy 1985: 181 - 182)