Statistics is indispensable to almost all sciences – social, physical and natural. It is very often used in most of the spheres of human activity. In spite of the wide scope of the subject it has certain limitations. Some important limitations of statistics are the following:
1. Statistics does not study qualitative phenomena:
Statistics deals with facts and figures. So the quality aspect of a variable or the subjective phenomenon falls out of the scope of statistics. For example, qualities like beauty, honesty, intelligence etc. cannot be numerically expressed. So these characteristics cannot be examined statistically. This limits the scope of the subject.
2. Statistical laws are not exact:
Statistical laws are not exact as incase of natural sciences. These laws are true only on average. They hold good under certain conditions. They cannot be universally applied. So statistics has less practical utility.
3. Statistics does not study individuals:
Statistics deals with aggregate of facts. Single or isolated figures are not statistics. This is considered to be a major handicap of statistics.
4. Statistics can be misused:
Statistics is mostly a tool of analysis. Statistical techniques are used to analyze and interpret the collected information in an enquiry. As it is, statistics does not prove or disprove anything. It is just a means to an end. Statements supported by statistics are more appealing and are commonly believed. For this, statistics is often misused. Statistical methods rightly used are beneficial but if misused these become harmful. Statistical methods used by less expert hands will lead to inaccurate results. Here the fault does not lie with the subject of statistics but with the person who makes wrong use of it.