The word statistics has different meanings for different people. Simply hearing the word, most people think of tables and figures relating to a large number of items of information.
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Statistics deals with data. Data is plural form of datum, which means any singular measure. Data are figures, ratings, check-lists and other information collected in experiments and surveys.
Broadly speaking, there are two sources of statistical data-internal and external. Internal source refers to the information collected from within the organization. For example different organization and Government departments generate large volume of information.
The word Statistics can be interpreted in two sense. In plural sense Statistics refers to numerical statements of facts related to each other. In singular sense Statistic refers to statistical methods or the theory of statistics. These methods relate to the collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of data.
Secondary data are second hand informations. They are not collected from the source as the primary data. In other words, secondary data are those which have already been collected.
Statistical data as we have seen can be either primary or secondary. Primary data are those which are collected for the first time and so are in crude form. But secondary data are those which have already been collected.
It is a general belief that “statistics can prove anything.” This statement is partly true and false. It is false because mere statistics should not be taken for granted without proper verification.
The importance of statistics in recent years cannot be over emphasized. The development in statistical studies has considerably increased its scope and importance. It is no longer regarded as the science of statecraft or a by-product of state administration.
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:
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.