Several renowned statisticians have given statistics definitions. Statistics definitions state the circumscribed meaning of statistics and its significance.
The subject of Statistics is as old as human civilization. Initially the scope of statistics definitions was limited to Science statecraft. The term statistics has been derived from the Latin term ‘status’ or the German word ‘Statistik’ or the French word ‘statistique’ or the Italian word ‘statista’, it means a “political state”.
The word statistics was originally meant for the collection of data in relation to states both historical and descriptive. But now the word statistics defines much more as its usage has increased. Now it is used for the analysis of all kinds of data and methods. Thus, the statistics is defined in both senses Singular and Plural.
The American statistical association defined statistics as “it is the science of learning from, and of measuring, controlling and communicating uncertainty.
Statistics Definition – Singular sense
In singular sense, the statistics definition states that statistics describes certain methods and principles to collect, present, analyze and to interpret the data. These methods and principles are also used to convert the complex data into simpler form so that even a common man can understand it easily.
Selligman gave the definition of statistics in singular sense as the statistics contains a method and procedure to deal with the data from the initial stage to the final stage of processing of data. He defined statistics as “the science which deals with the methods of collecting, classifying, presenting, comparing and interpreting numerical data collected to throw some light on any sphere of enquiry.”
Likewise, Turtle defined statistics as “the body of principles and techniques of collecting, classifying, presenting, comparing and interpreting quantitative data.”
Statistics Definition in Plural sense
Statistics is defined as Numerical Data in Plural sense. The perfect statistics definition in plural sense is given by Horace Secrist. He defines statistics as “the aggregate of facts affected to a marked extent by multiplicity of causes numerically expressed, enumerated or estimated according to reasonable standards of accuracy, collected in a systematic manner for a predetermined purpose and placed in relation to each other.”
The very small statistics definition in plural sense is given by Bowley. He defined statistics as
– “statistics are numerical statements of facts in any department of inquiry placed in relation to each other.”
What do we understand from the above given statistics definition?
Statistics is the branch of science which is concerned with developing and studying methods and procedures for the collection, analyses, interpretation and presentation of empirical data. This is why it is considered as the most interdisciplinary field.
With the development of usage of statistics, the statistics definitions have also changed and emerged.
If we closely monitor the statistics definition then it majorly involves Uncertainty and Variation. That is why probability is used in statistics.
Characteristics derived from statistics definition
1. Statistics is an aggregate of facts
The foremost character derived from statistics definition is that statistics is an aggregate of facts. Statistics deals with facts which can be represented in data that can be related to time, place and frequency. There has to be a certain relation among facts as individual and unconnected figures cannot be studied in statistics. For example marks of all the students of a particular class are statistical data.
2. It is affected to a marked extent of causes
Statistics definitions also represent that statistical data are generally related to the branch of social sciences and thus, affected to a mixed effect of many factors. Since we cannot study an individual cause so there has to be a combined effect of many causes.
3. Statistics is numerically expressed
Statistics definitions are concerned with quantitative data and not with qualitative data. Thus, statistical data has to be expressed in numerical terms. Likewise, if qualitative data can be expressed in numerical figures then it can also be defined as statistical data. This is why statistics definitions talk about data and do not distinguish between qualitative and quantitative data.
4. Statistical data is estimated as per Reasonable Standards of Accuracy
Each statistical data has to be estimated according to its nature and the purpose of enquiry. That is why there cannot be one uniform standard of estimating data. Thus statistics definition state to estimate data according to Reasonable Standards of Accuracy.
5. Statistics is collected in a Systematic Manner-
Statistics definitions make a strong point that the reasonable accuracy of statistics can only be obtained if it is collected in a systematic manner. The Manner is systematic or not depending upon the nature of statistical data. If you will collect the data in a haphazard manner then it may lead to wrong and improper conclusions. And thus, accuracy cannot be believed
6. Statistics is done for Pre-determined Purpose
The statistician must have a predetermined purpose before starting the whole procedure of statistics. If you don’t have the purpose of collecting the data you will end up at zero as you would not know which methods you want to apply.
7. Statistics must be in relation to each other
The last characteristics that the statistics definition gives are that the statistics shall be capable of being placed in relation to each other. As then only you can compare them and if there is no relation among them the statistics would be treated as heterogeneous data and statistics can be done only among homogeneous data.
The scope of statistics definition has changed as per the need and development of method and procedures of handling data in statistics. The statistics can be defined in both singular and plural sense as discussed above. There are certain characteristics of statistics which have been recognized by almost all the statisticians and thus these can be interpreted through their statistics definitions. If you still finding it difficult to learn statistics definition then get the help from our statistics experts.