The importance of statistics

It is obvious that society can’t be run effectively on the basis of hunches or trial and error, and that in business and economics much depends on the correct analysis of numerical information. Decisions based on data will provide better results than those based on intuition or gut feelings. What applies to this wider world applies to undertaking research into the wider world. And learning to use statistics in your studies will have a wider benefit than helping you towards a qualification. Once you have mastered the language and some of the techniques in order to make sense of your investigation, you will have supplied yourself with a knowledge and understanding that will enable you to cope with the information you will encounter in your everyday life.
Statistical thinking permeates all social interaction. For example, take these statements:

Ø  ‘The earlier you start thinking about the topic of your research project, the more likely it is that you will produce good work.

Ø  You will get more reliable information about that from a refereed academic journal than a newspaper.’

Ø  ‘On average, my journey to work takes 1 hour and 40 minutes.’

Ø  ‘More people are wealthier now than ten years ago.’

Or these questions:

Ø  ‘Which university should I go to?’

Ø  ‘Should I buy a new car or a second-hand one?’

Ø  ‘Should the company buy this building or just rent it?’

Ø  ‘Should we invest now or wait till the new financial year?’

Ø  ‘When should we launch our new product?’

All of these require decisions to be made, all have costs and benefits (either financial or emotional), and all are based upon different amounts
of data, and all involve or necessitate some kind of statistical calculation. This is where an understanding of statistics and knowledge of statistical techniques will come in handy.

Why you need to use statistics
Much of everyday life depends on making forecasts, and business can’t progress without being able to audit change or plan action. In your research, you may be looking at areas such as purchasing, production, capital investment, long-term development, quality control, human resource development, recruitment and selection, marketing, credit risk assessment or financial forecasts or others. And that is why the informed use of statistics is of direct importance to you while you are collecting your data and analyzing them. If nothing else, your results and findings will be more accurate, more believable and, consequently, more useful. Some of the reasons why you will be using statistics to analyses your data are the same reasons why you are doing the research.
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