Statistics as a discipline is considered indispensable in almost all spheres of human knowledge. There is hardly any branch of study which does not use statistics. Scientific, social and economic studies use statistics in one form or another. These disciplines make-use of observations, facts and figures, enquiries and experiments etc. using statistics and statistical methods. Statistics studies almost all aspects in an enquiry. It mainly aims at simplifying the complexity of information collected in an enquiry. It presents data in a simplified form as to make them intelligible. It analyses data and facilitates drawal of conclusions. Now let us briefly discuss some of the important functions of statistics.
1. Presents facts in. simple form:
Statistics presents facts and figures in a definite form. That makes the statement logical and convincing than mere description. It condenses the whole mass of figures into a single figure. This makes the problem intelligible.
2. Reduces the Complexity of data:
Statistics simplifies the complexity of data. The raw data are unintelligible. We make them simple and intelligible by using different statistical measures. Some such commonly used measures are graphs, averages, dispersions, skewness, kurtosis, correlation and regression etc. These measures help in interpretation and drawing inferences. Therefore, statistics enables to enlarge the horizon of one's knowledge.
3. Facilitates comparison:
Comparison between different sets of observation is an important function of statistics. Comparison is necessary to draw conclusions as Professor Boddington rightly points out.” the object of statistics is to enable comparison between past and present results to ascertain the reasons for changes, which have taken place and the effect of such changes in future. So to determine the efficiency of any measure comparison is necessary. Statistical devices like averages, ratios, coefficients etc. are used for the purpose of comparison.
4. Testing hypothesis:
Formulating and testing of hypothesis is an important function of statistics. This helps in developing new theories. So statistics examines the truth and helps in innovating new ideas.
5. Formulation of Policies :
Statistics helps in formulating plans and policies in different fields. Statistical analysis of data forms the beginning of policy formulations. Hence, statistics is essential for planners, economists, scientists and administrators to prepare different plans and programmes.
6. Forecasting :
The future is uncertain. Statistics helps in forecasting the trend and tendencies. Statistical techniques are used for predicting the future values of a variable. For example a producer forecasts his future production on the basis of the present demand conditions and his past experiences. Similarly, the planners can forecast the future population etc. considering the present population trends.
7. Derives valid inferences :
Statistical methods mainly aim at deriving inferences from an enquiry. Statistical techniques are often used by scholars planners and scientists to evaluate different projects. These techniques are also used to draw inferences regarding population parameters on the basis of sample information.