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Introduction to Statistics

# Introduction to Statistics

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07/25/2013

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Introduction to Statistics
Introduction, examples and deﬁnitions
Introduction
We begin the module with some basic data analysis. Since Statistics involvesthe collection and interpretation of data, we must ﬁrst know how tounderstand, display and summarise large amounts of quantitative information,before undertaking a more sophisticated analysis.Statistical analysis of quantitative data is important throughout the pure andsocial sciences. For example, during this module we will consider examplesfrom Biology, Medicine, Agriculture, Economics, Business and Meteorology.
Examples
Survival of cancer patients:
A cancer patient wants to know the probabilitythat he will survive for at least 5 years. By collecting data on survival

rates of people in a similar situation, it is possible to obtain an empiricalestimate of survival rates. We cannot know whether or not the patient willsurvive, or even know exactly what the
probability
of survival is. However,we can
estimate
the
proportion
of patients who survive from
data
.
Car maintenance:
When buying a certain type of new car, it would be usefulto know how much it is going to cost to run over the ﬁrst three years fromnew. Of course, we cannot predict exactly what this will be — it will varyfrom car to car. However, collecting data from people who bought similarcars will give some idea of the
distribution
of costs across the
population
likely
costof running the car.
Deﬁnitions
The quantities measured in a study are called
random variables
, and aparticular outcome is called an
observation
. Several observations are

collectively known as
data
. The collection of all possible outcomes is calledthe
population
.In practice, we cannot usually observe the whole population. Instead weobserve a sub-set of the population, known as a
sample
. In order to ensurethat the sample we take is
representative
of the whole population, we usuallytake a
random sample
in which all members of the population are
equally likely
to be selected for inclusion in the sample. For example, if we areinterested in conducting a survey of the amount of physical exerciseundertaken by the general public, surveying people entering and leaving agymnasium would provide a
biased
sample of the population, and the resultsobtained would
not
generalise to the population at large.Variables are either
qualitative
or
quantitative
. Qualitative variables havenon-numeric outcomes, with no natural ordering. For example, gender,disease status, and type of car are all qualitative variables. Quantitativevariables have numeric outcomes. For example, survival time, height, age,number of children, and number of faults are all quantitative variables.