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Chapter 1

STAB23H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Norc At The University Of Chicago, General Social Survey, Statistical SciencePremium

3 pages35 viewsWinter 2019

Department
Statistics
Course Code
STAB23H3
Professor
Nnenna Asidianya
Chapter
1

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Chapter 1: Introduction
Why Study Statistical Science?
o Social sciences work in a wide variety of areas that use statistical methods, such as
governmental agencies, business organizations, and healthcare facilities.
Data:
o Information gathering is at the heart of all sciences, providing the observations used in
statistical analyses.
o The observations gathered on the characteristics of interest are collectively called data.
o To generate data, the social sciences use a wide variety of methods, including surveys using
questionnaires, experiments, and direct observation of behaviour in natural settings.
o In addition, social scientists often analyze data already recorded for other purposes, such as
police records, census materials, and hospital files.
o Existing archived collections of data are called databases, which are often available on the
Internet.
An important database for social scientists contains results since 1972 of the General
Social Survey.
Every other year, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of
Chicago conducts the General Social Survey (GSS).
This survey of about 2000 adults provides data about opinions and behaviours
of the American public.
Questions cover a wide variety of topics.
What is Statistical Science?
o Statistics: consists of a body of methods for obtaining and analyzing data.
Specifically, statistical science provides methods for:
Design: planning how to gather data for a research study to investigate
questions of interest to us.
Planning a study so that the data it yields are informative.
Description: summarizing the data obtained in the study.
Used to help understand the information the data provide.
Graphs, tables, and numerical summaries such as averages and
percentages are called descriptive statistics.
We use descriptive statistics to reduce the data to a simpler and more
understandable form without distorting or losing much information.
Inference: making predictions based on the data, to help us deal with
uncertainty in an objective manner.
Predictions made using data are called statistical inferences.
Descriptive Statistics and Inferential Statistics:
o A statistical analysis is classified as descriptive or inferential, according to whether its main
purpose is to describe the data or to make predictions.
Populations and Samples:
o The entities on which a study makes observations are called the sample subjects for the
study.
Subjects are usually people, but are sometimes cities, families, schools, etc.
Although we obtain data for the sample subjects, our ultimate interest is in the
population that the sample represents.
o Population: the total set of subjects of interest in a study.
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