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2: Describing Data

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    Chapter by Matthew Crump

    Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.

    — John W. Tukey

    This chapter is about descriptive statistics. These are tools for describing data. Some things to keep in mind as we go along are:

    1. There are lots of different ways to describe data
    2. There is more than one “correct” way, and you get to choose the most “useful” way for the data that you are describing
    3. It is possible to invent new ways of describing data, all of the ways we discuss were previously invented by other people, and they are commonly used because they are useful.
    4. Describing data is necessary because there is usually too much of it, so it doesn’t make any sense by itself.

    2: Describing Data is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Matthew J. C. Crump via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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