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Statistics - short version

A field that involves tabulating, depicting and describing data sets; a formalized body of techniques characteristically involving attempts to infer the properties of a large collection of data from inspection of a sample of the collection.

Statistics - long version

Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments. A statistician is someone who is particularly well versed in the ways of thinking necessary for the successful application of statistical analysis. Such people have often gained this experience through working in any of a wide number of fields. There is also a discipline called mathematical statistics that studies statistics mathematically.

The word statistics, when referring to the scientific discipline, is singular, as in "Statistics is an art." This should not be confused with the word statistic, referring to a quantity (such as mean or median) calculated from a set of data, whose plural is statistics ("this statistic seems wrong" or "these statistics are misleading").


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