An Introduction to the Main Statistical Terms

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Statistics is an interpretation of a collection of data by using mathematical methods. Statistics can measure observations in terms of correlating an important idea after another. It can describe properties of a set of data and predict occurrences of a phenomenon. Statistics is used in different aspects of life - medicine, weather and business, to name a few. In mainstream media, statistics is often used to measure popularity rating. Statistical terms are also used in various publications and it is valuable to understand these terms.

Mean, Median, Mode

The mean is computed in different ways in statistics. There is the arithmetic mean which is the sum of the values divided by the number of values. This gives the person reading the statistical report the idea on the average value of a given set of data. When the term 'mean' is mentioned in any news report, it is usually referring to the arithmetic mean.  This is also the geometric mean, harmonic mean and weighted mean. These are defined in different formulas from the arithmetic mean.  Median is the value in the middle of a list when sorted from smallest to largest. The mode is the value that is repeated the most in a list of values.

Normal curve

The normal curve or the 'bell curve' refers to the statistical graph which represents how the random variables are distributed. This gives a set of data the visual explanation. Given any random variable, it is easier to see where in the normal curve it is likely positioned. This can help understand a set of data better.

Standard Deviation

The standard deviation is the measurement in statistics which shows how a variable deviates itself from the mean. Given a set of data, standard deviation is used to measure how reliable a set of data is to predict certain outcomes and phenomena.

Statistical Error

Statistical error shows the value for which a random value deviates from the expected values. Since statistics is used to predict outcomes, statistical errors show the margin for error a certain value has to the expected value. This can also show the reliability of the data presented.

Linear Regression

Linear regression is a method in statistics which analyzes a set of values by estimating the parameters using a linear function. Given a graph and the distribution of values, it is possible to interpret and understand the data by knowing the linear function that closely passes through all the values. This method is useful when studying trends and correlating incidents.

Statistics is a complex field of study that is useful in understanding phenomena and predicts the occurrence. It is used in different fields of study. Knowing the important terms allows one to understand its importance better.  These are but a few of the important terms. There are many more to be learned.


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