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Statistics, Descriptive

Bertram Scheufele


The original purpose of statistics was collecting data for government and administration. Thus, the term is used for, e.g., employment data or for censuses in general that provide data (statistics) about a population or nation. Scientifically, the term stands for different forms of presenting empirical data in charts, diagrams, or tables as well as for an academic discipline. In this respect, statistics is part of mathematics, but also an auxiliary discipline for other academic disciplines like communication research. Statistics serves for analyzing, presenting, and interpreting empirical data that have been collected by applying quantitative methods (→  Quantitative Methodology ; Research Methods ) like →  Surveys , content analyses (→  Content Analyses, Quantitative ), or →  observations in →  experimental designs or field studies (→  Field Research ). Statistics comprises of descriptive and explanatory procedures and aspects (→  Statistics, Explanatory ). Descriptive statistics deals with describing and characterizing empirical data from representative samples, i.e., mostly random samples (→  Sampling, Random ). A sample is called random when all elements have the same chance of becoming or not becoming a member of it. This is a crucial condition for all statistical analyses, especially when it comes to explanatory procedures. Observations or elements of a random sample can ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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