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3: Examining the Evidence Using Graphs and Statistics

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  • Chapter 1 discussed what a population, sample, parameter, and statistic are, and how to take different types of samples. Chapter 2 discussed ways to graphically display data. There was also a discussion of important characteristics: center, variations, distribution, outliers, and changing characteristics of the data over time. Distributions and outliers can be answered using graphical means. Finding the center and variation can be done using numerical methods that will be discussed in this chapter. Both graphical and numerical methods are part of a branch of statistics known as descriptive statistics. Later descriptive statistics will be used to make decisions and/or estimate population parameters using methods that are part of the branch called inferential statistics.