A Short Guide for researchers/scholars interested in a Statistics

Statistics is an integral part of all research studies, a discipline that all researchers and scientists commonly use to analyze their data and arrive at the desired research findings and effectively present meaningful conclusions. Statistical techniques, presently, play a central part in the majority of scientific disciplines and are frequently utilized to support hypotheses in order to provide credibility to research methodology and conclusions arrived from these studies.

Thus, many researchers and scholars are keenly interested In Statistics and its various methods and analytical techniques to ascertain the credibility and usefulness of the data and information collected from their respective research studies.

This short guide provides essential information relating to important statistical concepts like sampling methods, the role of statistics in scientific research to facilitate them to conduct a well-designed statistical research.

What is Statistics?

Statistics is generally described as a field of science useful to collect, analyze and to make inference from the various available data. This highly useful branch of mathematics comprise of two branch of study namely

• Descriptive Statistics
• Inferential Statistics

Descriptive Statistics:

Descriptive statistics is concerned with the description of population under study and involves the usage of statistical methods to summarize the data collection. It is useful in organizing analyzing and presenting the collected information in a meaningful manner. Appropriate Charts, graphs and tables are used in the descriptive statistics to describe a situation, the existing data available and to summarize samples.

Measures of central tendency and Measures of spread are the two levels of measurement in statistics that are used to describe data and population under study using commonly used parameters like mean, median, mode, quartiles, variance and standard deviation.

Inferential Statistics:

This branch of statistics focuses on drawing conclusions about the population by selecting appropriate samples from the population and making an observation and analysis of the selected samples. Sampling techniques in statistics are commonly employed in various research studies, and the commonly used sampling methodologies include

• Simple Random Sampling
• Systematic Sampling
• Stratified Sampling
• Cluster Sampling
• Probability and non-probability sampling

Inferential statistical techniques enable the researchers to select small proportion of samples from a population using any of the sampling methodologies mentioned above and to make use of these selected samples to generalize the population under study. Inferential statistics involves comparison, testing and predicted of data and utilizes probability techniques to explain the chances of occurrence of a particular event. By employing these statistical tools, the researchers and scholars can attempt to reach their desired conclusion of their study by investigating the few samples thus allowing them to learn about the whole population by considerably spending less time, resources and cost.

A Masters in statistics will provide students an in-depth knowledge of the various useful statistical tools and techniques involved in the descriptive and inferential statistics.

Importance of Statistics in Research Studies:

Social science research uses a number of different statistical approaches to investigate an array of research related issues. Regardless of the type of the research areas and issues, all research studies commence with a general idea in the form of a research question or a hypothesis. A research question is a simple general question like, for instance,” What are the effects of student’s test anxiety levels on their overall academic achievement?”. Here the question talks about the relationship between two variables examination and student’s test anxiety and academic achievement.

On the other hand, Hypothesis is a more specific question and the researcher conducting the study has to make a prediction about a particular outcome. The major difference between the research question and hypothesis is that a hypothesis gives prediction of the study outcome. For example, the research hypothesis might describe” There exists a positive relationship between student’s test anxiety levels and academic achievement”

The researchers have to state the statistical hypothesis of the research study, which provides an assumption about the particular variable used in the study. Hypothesis testing is a formal statistical procedure employed in all research studies to accept or reject the research hypothesis. Critical value approach of hypothesis testing enables the researcher to understand how to find critical values in statistics related research studies.

How to Do Statistical Research?

There are various steps involved in the planning and conducting of a well-designed statistical research study, which include

• Identification of suitable research topic
• Determine Research questions and state Null and Alternate Hypothesis
• Design the Research study indicating when, where and how to conduct the study
• Identify data collecting methods based on the sample size proposed for the study
• Analyze data collected by using statistical analytical techniques
• Interpret the data and generate findings
• Perform data validation
• Present research reports using statistical graphical presentations

Thus, it is imperative for researchers and scholars of research to gain a sufficient knowledge of the basic statistical concepts and techniques to conduct a well structured research study. A good understanding of the basic concepts will facilitate them to gather necessary information, ascertain the credibility and value of information, and make appropriate informed decisions and publish reliable research findings.

No wonder, faculty research interests in statistics has grown considerably among researchers and scholars in recent years.

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