Statistics and Problem Solving

These are my notes on statistics and problem solving.

A population is the total set of subjects or things we are interested in studying. Populations are defined by what a researcher is studying and can come in all shapes and sizes.


A frame is a list containing all members of the population.


Population parameters are facts about the population. Since parameters are descriptions of the population, a population can have many parameters. Parameters can be averages, percentages, minimums, or maximums. For a specific population at a specific point in time, population parameters do not change.


A sample is a subset of the population which is used to gain insight about the population. Samples are used to represent a larger group, the population. 


A statistic is a fact or characteristic about the sample. For any given sample a statistic is a fixed number. Statistics are used as estimates of population parameters. 


A process is a method for obtaining a desired result. The idea of a process is closely tied to quality control. In order to improve a process, there must be an understanding of how the process is currently performing. This required definition and measurement of the process. 


The science of statistics is divided into two categories, descriptive and inferential. Descriptive methods describe and summarize data. Descriptive statistics is the collection, organization, and presentation of data.


The objective of inferential statistics is to make reasonable guesses about the population characteristics using sample data.