It is recommended that you read introduction to research before reading this web-page. This web-page gives a brief introduction to statistics. You will find lots of links from this web-page to other web-pages providing more information.

Statistics is the method used to find a pattern among observations consisting of, or being transformed to, numbers. Hence, statistics is only used in quantitative research approaches and is based on mathematics. The domains embraced by statistics are:

- Study design
- Collection of data (=sampling)
- Organizing and describing observations (=descriptive statistics)
- Making conclusions from observations (=inferential statistics).
- Sample size estimations.

Descriptive statistics try to describe the observations, by using numbers, tables or graphs. Inferential statistics try to make conclusions from your observations by calculating the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis (the p-value), odds ratios, hazard ratios etc. All these calculated condensed data assist in reaching a conclusion.

## Suggested further reading

- Observations and variables.
- Study design.
- Choosing statistical analysis.
- Sample size estimations.
- Collection of data (=sampling)
- Writing a study protocol.
- Significant figures
- Descriptive statistics.
- Inferential statistics.

## Brief history of statistics

Statistics uses models based on probability theory developed to explain chance variations or random phenomena. The reason it became interesting as a discipline was when mathematicians of the 17th century began calculating the odds in various games of chance. It was obvious that this knowledge has the potential to be financially rewarding. These gaming theories could then be applied into other contexts.

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