Statistical vs Non-Statistical Questions

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  • 0:01 Questions and Categories
  • 0:37 Statistical Questions
  • 1:15 Answers Vary
  • 2:45 Non-Statistical Questions
  • 3:09 Only One Answer
  • 4:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Watch this video lesson and you will learn how to spot statistical and non-statistical questions. You will learn that statistical questions have variance in their answers while non-statistical questions don't.

Questions And Categories

In math, we like to label everything: numbers, symbols, and other things. Everything has a name. For example, the number 1 is an integer, a whole number, and a positive number, among other things. The function y = 4x - 2 is a function, a line, and an algebraic expression. We know different types of numbers have names, but did you know that different types of questions have labels, too? That's right. In this lesson, we will look at those types of questions: the statistical question and the non-statistical question.

Statistical Questions

First, statistical questions are those questions that have more than one possible answer. This type of question requires the collection of various points of data. For example, the question, 'How much food does a koala bear typically eat per day?' is a statistical question. Why? Because to answer this question, we need to collect data for several days so we can get an average. We might answer, 'A koala bear eats on average 3 pounds of food per day.' Our answer might also be a range. Our answer might be, 'A koala bear eats anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds of food every day.' There is no one correct answer here.

Answers Vary

A statistical question has an answer that depends, or varies, with the situation. This is the identifying aspect of a statistical question. Look at these questions and see if you can see why these are statistical questions.

  1. How much water do people generally need to drink to stay well hydrated?
  2. How fast do cheetahs typically run?
  3. How many puppies do momma dogs typically give birth to?

All of these are statistical questions. The first one about how much water we need to drink is a statistical question because the answer varies depending on the size of the person and where the person lives. An answer could be a range. A person typically needs to drink between 6 and 8 cups of water a day.

The second question is also a statistical one because this one, too, has an answer that varies. Each cheetah is different in its ability. One cheetah may be slower than another. We can answer, on average, that cheetahs can run about 70 miles per hour.

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