Basic Statistics (Descriptive Statistics)

Probability and Statistics > Basic statistics

Here you’ll find a series of articles that breaks basic statistics down into simple steps; everything from finding a range to understanding the difference between different variable types.

Pre-Statisitcs:

Basic Statistics

The most common basic statistics terms you’ll come across are the mean, mode and median. These are all what are known as “Measures of Central Tendency.” Also important in this early chapter of statistics is the shape of a distribution. This tells us something about how data is spread out around the mean or median. Perhaps the most common distribution you’ll see is the normal distribution, sometimes called a bell curve. Heights, weights, and many other things found in nature tend to be shaped like this:

IQ scores fit a bell curve shape.

On the other end of the scale, you can also get a flat distribution. With this shape, the odds of anything happening are equal. For example, a uniform distribution can represent choosing a particular card from a standard deck; all the cards have a 1/52 chance of being chosen. Or tossing a coin, where you have a 50% chance of tossing a heads or a tails.

A uniform distribution.

Basic statistics lays the foundation for further studies in statistics. It includes lots of ways to classify and sort variables and data so that they can be studied with tools you’ll be introduced to later. For example, correlation and hypothesis testing.