The World of Statistics

What is Statistics?

When many people hear the word "statistics," they think of either sports-related numbers or the college class they took and barely passed. While statistics can be thought about in these terms, there is more to the relationship between you and statistics than you probably imagine.

So, what is statistics? Several informal definitions are offered in the book A Career in Statistics: Beyond the Numbers by Gerald Hahn and Necip Doganaksoy:

  • The science of learning from (or making sense out of) data
  • The theory and methods of extracting information from observational data for solving real-world problems
  • The science of uncertainty
  • The quintessential interdisciplinary science
  • The art of telling a story with [numerical] data

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Stats LifeThumbnail image for UK is No.1 on Open Data, But We Must Not Be Complacent

The latest edition of the Open Data Barometer confirms the UK’s global leadership when it comes to open data. Ranked first once again in the Web Foundation’s comprehensive study of open data initiatives across 86 countries, the UK continues to set the bar for countries looking to create value from open data.

But while the UK is in first place, it cannot be complacent. Other countries have made significant advances in the latest Barometer: France has moved from tenth in 2013 to fourth place, and the Netherlands is close to being in the top five. In Latin America Brazil, Uruguay and Chile are streaking ahead, with Chile alone vaulting 10 places to find itself ranked fifteenth.

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StatsLife is the news, opinion and resource website of the Royal Statistical Society.

World Population Clock
Activities

Below are The World of Statistics participating organization events and activities around the world that will be conducted in March. To see the complete list of activities for 2015, please click here.

World of Statistics BlogThumbnail image for Statistics Fastest-Growing US Undergrad STEM Degree

By Ronald L. Wasserstein

Statistics—the science of learning from data—is the fastest-growing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) undergraduate degree in the United States over the last four years, an analysis of federal government education data conducted by the American Statistical Association (ASA) revealed.

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Significance MagazineThumbnail image for How Gladstone Linked Classical Studies and Statistics

Having a passion for statistics may not be well understood by friends. Significance readers would sympathise, I’m sure, but such apparently ‘odd’ behaviour is often hard for others to comprehend. And while you might expect members of your family to share or, at the very least, to accept your interests, there are no guarantees.

Several years ago, my then-16-year-old sister proudly announced that she had chosen her secondary school specialization--humanities. She was happy, she said, that--given her choice--she would never again have to wrangle with numbers. I warned that might not be the case; that statistics would soon make its presence felt. She demanded to know why, when and how, but at the time I didn’t have the answers for her.

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Significance is a publication of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

Census at School

Challenge Yourself Today!

We are proud to introduce Stats2013AtSchool—a Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education and American Statistical Association special project expressly designed for schools and students worldwide in support of the International Year of Statistics.

Stats2013AtSchool features an international statistics quiz for school-aged learners. This fun, online quiz is based on WinAtSchool, a competition which comprises multiple choice questions in

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Census at School is a free, web-based classroom project that engages primary and secondary school students in statistical problemsolving using their own data. This international educational initiative, launched in 2000 in the United Kingdom by the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education, has programs operating in several countries.

Click here to view the Census at School program in your country or others around the world.

Statistician Job of the WeekThumbnail image for Statisticians Essential To Success of Clinical Trials

By Dr. Jennifer Rogers

I have been working at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a research fellow in the Medical Statistics department for the last two years. My research is primarily concerned with the planning, statistical analysis and reporting of clinical trials in cardiovascular disease alongside other statisticians, clinicians and industry collaborators.

My involvement in the analysis of clinical trial data is mainly focussed on secondary analyses. These analyses allow us to identify areas where standard statistical practice becomes unsuitable and new methodology needs to be developed in response to interesting characteristics of the datasets with which we are presented.

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