What is statistics?

statistic_curveStatistics is a branch of science that deals primarily with data. Statistics as a science deals with all aspects of data including collection, organization, interpretation and conclusion making. This means that where there are large or even small bodies of data there are always statistical methods applied to that data to display, interpret and even change and see some patterns within that data. Some say that statistics is a mathematical science because basically everything you do with data involves in one way or other math and thus statistics without math do not exist. But my view on this subject is a bit different and I think that statistics is a whole scientific field separate from math because when you collect, organise and devise meaning from data you get patterns and conclusions that are not pure math and thus can be interpreted otherwise.

This scientific field is well known in computer science because where you get computers there always are a lot of date and when you need to collect and process any kind of data then those methods that you use are from this field. There are a lot of programs created for analysing data and maybe the most well known is Microsoft Excel as this spreadsheet program can represent large datasets in charts and even apply mathematical functions on that data to derive values such as average, largest, smallest and a lot more. Because of programs like these anyone can participate in statistical data analysis and can start to derive meaning and conclusions from large bodies of information.

The best way to see statistics in action is to look at infographics and other data visualizations like charts and diagrams because our human brain is very bad with numbers but excellent at pictures and abstract meaning extraction. If you take a lot of data and organise it in a chart then you can see how the data is divided, and what are some other underlying aspects of that data that you could not have seen just looking at that information. But visualizing data has its limits and you cannot derive real conclusions just by creating and measuring some charts and diagrams. To fully interpret and see the underlying patterns you need to apply formulas like statistical mean, average and standard deviation and then you can start to understand the dataset with more accuracy.

As you can see – statistics is a lot more than just visualizing data and to fully understand this science you must start from the very beginning and collect data, then process it and only then you can start to interpret that information but that is a whole new topic.