This is the first in a series of short articles that will discuss basic stats. Learning about stats will help you think in terms of probabilities, and allow you to gain a better understanding of research data.
Statistic: 1 number that summarizes a property of a set of numbers (Osbaldiston, 2011)
One of the key reasons of why we need statistics is to be able to effectively conduct research. Without the use of statistics it would be very difficult to analyze the collected data and make decisions based on the data. Statistics give us an overview of the data and allow us to make sense of what is going on. Without statistics, in many cases, it would be extremely difficult to find meaning in the data. Statistics provides us with a tool to make an educated inference.
Most scientific and technical journals contain some form of statistics. Without an understanding of statistics, the statistical information contained in the journal will be meaningless. An understanding of basic statistics will provide you with the fundamental skills necessary to read and evaluate most results sections. The ability to extract meaning from journal articles, and the ability to evaluate research from a statistical perspective are basic skills that will increase your knowledge and understanding of the article of interest.
Gaining knowledge in the area of statistics will help you become a better-informed consumer. Of course, statistics can be used or misused. Some individuals do mislead with statistics. If you understand basic statistical concepts, you will be in a better position to evaluate the information you have been given.
In future articles will be discussing: mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, t-tests, correlation coefficient, and many other statistical concepts.