Statistics can be defined as “ the science that deals with the collection, classification, analysis, and interpretation of numerical facts of data, and that, by use of mathematical theories of probability, imposes order and regularity on aggregates of more or less disparate elements” (Dictionary.com, LLC, 2008). Yet how do we use these specific elements in our everyday working lives? Many don’t realize the extent to which we as a culture base our decisions on statistics. We us them in something as small as predicting the outcome of a game or number of points that a team will score. Statistics surrounds us in many ways and in many forms.
As the American Statistical Association president Jon Kettenring stated, "I like to think of statistics as the science of learning from data...It presents exciting opportunities for those who work as professional statisticians. Statistics is essential for the proper running of government, central to decision making in industry, and a core component of modern educational curricula at all levels" (American Statistical Association, 2008). Information on statistics helps in many ways and in many different departments.
The first area is in Surveys. Statistical information is used in collecting information in which must be very carefully selected in a specific manor in order to come up with the most conclusive end product. From this information they can give out the collected details to a certain population. Some good examples of Surveys is in which they collect information from an area on political candidates and see which is more popular as well as giving estimations on the number of children living in a certain school district. (American Statistical Association, 2008)
In the area of Statistics one of the major areas that today we are using is Government operations. In this area they can administer different tests to provide information for developing social programs and public policy. Very relevant to what we need right now is experiments on consumer prices, fluctuations in the economy, and employment patterns. (American Statistical Association, 2008)
Some statistics can be used in scientific research. These are statistics that go on constantly around us and we don’t even realize that they are using statistics to measure the information. Such information that is measured is the measurements of water, clinical trials to test the effectiveness of new treatments, as well as testing radiocarbon to be able to predict earthquakes. (American Statistical Association, 2008)
Lastly they also use statistics in Business and Industry. They use statistics to put numbers with their information to make the most of their business and resources. In terms of statistics business are able to predict demand for their products or services, check for quality of products that they are manufacturing, as well as manage investment portfolios. (American Statistical Association, 2008)
All of these are great ways that we as a society use Statistics. As you can see there are a variety of ways to use information and apply statistics to benefit us. With more knowledge in comparing information, we might not have been able to come up with some of our conclusions or certain decisions with out the use of statistics. From this you can see that the misuse of statistics is very possible and does indeed happen.
There is one major issue that we come across when talking about the misuse of statistics in which is a term known as selection bias. Selection Bias is known as the misuse of statistics by only using partial information to make conclusions look more applicable to the problem at hand (Knowledge@Wharton, 2008). You can see this particular instance when we look at Roger Clemens and the case against him for using illegal, performance enhancing drugs. In the beginning the statistics pulled were pulled on the other major league baseball players that were of this same age and performing at the same skill level. From...
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