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Statistics and Data

The term statistics  is used in two ways. In the broad context, `statistics' refers to a collection of techniques and procedures for analyzing data . This is what we mean when we say `Statistics 216 is a course in Business Statistics'- the course will cover techniques and procedures for analysing business-related data. In a narrower context, `statistics' refers to the numbers themselves (like the average, median, etc.) that arise out of data analysis. `Baseball statistics' and `financial market statistics' are used in this context.

In this course, `data' refers to any collection of measurements  that are made on a number of subjects . These measurements are often stored in a row-and-column display called a spreadsheet . An example is given below of a spreadsheet containing data taken on ten students in a class.

```                                 CLASS DATA

Student  Sex   Level       GPA    Hours   Transport   Sleep Hrs.
Taken               Last Night
1      M    Sophomore   3.10     32       Car        7.0
2      M    Junior      3.20     66       Car        8.0
3      F    Senior      3.49     94       Bus        8.0
4      M    Senior      2.68     89       Walk      10.0
5      F    Junior      3.73     69       Bicycle    8.0
6      F    Junior      3.39     59       Car        8.0
7      F    Senior      3.80     86       Walk       8.0
8      M    Junior      3.11     75       Car        8.0
9      F    Sophomore   3.10     27       Car        7.0
10      M    Senior      3.10     96       Walk       3.0
```

Each row represents a subject (or student, in this case), and each column represents a measurement. The measurement columns are also called variables, because the values vary from one subject to another.

2003-09-08