Statistical Analysis: Methods & Techniques

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  • 0:04 Definition of…
  • 0:37 The Mean
  • 1:38 Standard Deviation
  • 2:28 Regression
  • 3:20 Sample Size and…
  • 5:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Karsner

David holds a Master of Arts in Education

Statistical analysis is the process of collecting and reading data so that one can describe past behavior and characteristics and predict future ones. This lesson will give the definition and formulas of different methods you can use.

Definition of Statistical Analysis

Anybody can collect data, but how do you analyze it so that it means something, so that it can help you make conclusions or decisions based on it? Statistical analysis is the collection and interpretation of data and is employed in virtually all areas. It's been used by scientists since the invention of the scientific method and today is typically used in politics, marketing, and education, among many others.

There are five primary methods of statistical analysis that get most of the work done. Let's get into these in more detail.

The Mean

In statistics, the mean is the most commonly used measure of center, also known as the central tendency. There are several types of mean; if the type is not given, it's understood to be an arithmetic mean. The mean is frequently referred to outside of statistical arenas as the 'average'.

Finding the mean

To find the arithmetic mean, add the items in the set of data together and then divide by the number of items. You can see how this plays out in the example below:

Find the mean: (14, 20, 26, 31, 31)

14 + 20 + 26 + 31 + 31 = 122

122 / 5 = 24.4

But let's look at another example. Have you ever gotten an exam back from your teacher, saw your score, and wondered how you did compared to the rest of the class? The mean can help you make that comparison. If you received an 81% on the exam and the class mean was 72%, you can feel a little self-satisfaction knowing you did better than most.

One advantage of using the mean is that it's simple to calculate. A disadvantage is that it's sensitive to extreme values, called outliers, in the data. Other ways of measuring center are median, mode, and mid-range.

Standard Deviation

Before you get too smug about your 81% on the last exam, you should realize that it's the second lowest grade in the class. There are only eight students. Two of them didn't take the exam and received a zero. Five of them got a 100%. Almost all of the grades for this exam were extremes, zero or hundreds. This scenario illustrates the need for standard deviation.

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