Using statistics is like using any other technique for helping you in an investigation. You must know: what the technique is useful for; what you specifically want to use it for and the rules for using it, so that you can apply the techniques correctly and appropriately. Statistics is extremely useful for helping you to analyse data obtained from investigations in which there has been some kind of replication (such as samples) and for helping you in the construction of graphs. It can often be helpful in planning the design of investigations. Students commonly have an exaggerated fear of statistics, probably brought on by a fear of ‘maths’ or unhappy experiences in the ‘maths and stats’ lectures. The most important thing to grasp initially is when and how to apply the variety of statistical techniques. If this is grasped, any fear present begins to disappear as confidence takes over.
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