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What Is Statistics: Statistical Methods, Uses, and Functions

Main aspects of statistics.

What Is Statistics

In practical activities and the scientific sphere, the term “statistics” has different meanings, such as:

a) statistics is the scope of practical activities related to the collection and generalization of data on various phenomena and processes;

b) statistics as a numerical data set on a particular area of ​​human activity (production statistics, population statistics, transportation statistics, loading and unloading data, warehouse operations statistics, etc.);

c) statistics is a scientific discipline, which considers and substantiates the tools and methods of statistical research.


The object of the study of statistics is society, phenomena, and processes of social life. Thus, statistics is a social science.

In turn, the subject of statistics (that is what statistics studies) is a quantitative feature of mass social phenomena and processes:

  • their sizes,
  • ratio,
  • proportions,
  • the pace of development.

At the same time, statistics studies the quantitative side of these phenomena and processes in close connection with their qualitative characteristics under specific conditions of space and time.

Also read “Definition, Role and Brief History of Statistics”.

Statistics as Social Science and Its Specific Feature

A specific feature of statistics, which distinguishes it from other social sciences, is that statistics characterizes phenomena and their patterns and relationships, based on data from mass observation, and uses quantitative indicators for this.

In turn, mass observations are the study of many phenomena, the essential features of which are similar.

During mass observation, the calculation per unit is not taken into account, for example, the cost of a unit of production, the level of profitability of transportation, the level of labor productivity, etc.

For statistics, it is important to determine the content and methods of constructing statistical indicators correctly.

Statistical Methods

To study the patterns of development, the size, and quantitative correlations of social phenomena, statistics develops and uses a variety of methods, the totality of which forms a statistical methodology.

Statistical methodology is a set of specific methods and techniques by which a numerical characteristic of social phenomena and processes is achieved.

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The general basis for the development and application of the statistical methodology is the dialectic method of scientific knowledge. This means that statistics do not consider social phenomena and processes in isolation, but in interconnection, in the unity of qualitative and quantitative changes, in continuous development, and the study of causal relationships and consequences.

An important feature of statistical methodology is the integration of analysis and synthesis. This means that, based on the goals and objectives of the study, individual parts of the phenomenon are identified and studied, then, using statistical methods, the data are summarized as a whole over the entire population.

Statistics makes extensive use of the dialectical categories of accidental and necessary, individual and general, single and mass.

Three Stages of Statistical Research

In general, any statistical study of social phenomena consistently goes through three stages:

1. Statistical observation.

Statistical observation involves the collection of primary statistical data.

The main task of this stage is to get the values ​​of the studied characteristics from each unit of the statistical population by registering (taking into account) them based on a carefully developed program.[quads id=2]

Moreover, statistical observation should get a mass character. The need for the mass character of units of observation is because the study of statistical regularity manifests itself in a sufficiently large array of data.

2. Summary statistics and grouping of primary data.

The task of this stage is to systematize the collected data.

The essence of the second stage of statistical research is to check the data, group them according to certain criteria, summarize group and general results, calculate various statistical indicators, and present the results in the form of tables and graphs. 

3. Analysis of statistical information.

The analysis of statistical information involves the analysis of data based on the calculation of generalizing indicators: absolute, relative, and average values, statistical coefficients, indicators that characterize the strength of the relationship between phenomena.

The third stage of statistical research makes it possible to:

  • reveal the causal relationships between the studied phenomena,
  • determine the influence and interaction of various factors, 
  • test effectiveness of the management decisions taken,
  • identify possible economic and social consequences at the enterprise or in the industry and the country.

After comparing the generalizing statistical indicators of the studied phenomena, then it is necessary to determine the quantitative estimates of their expansion in space and development in time, identify the characteristics of communication and interdependence, and formulate scientific and practical conclusions.

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These steps of statistical research usually are separated from each other in time and are implemented by different performers. But at the same time, they are closely related.

Statistical Methods and Tools

The most important specific statistical methods that are used in statistical research include: 

  1. Statistical observation. 
  2. Summarizing and grouping of statistical data. 
  3. Statistical tables and graphics. 
  4. Methods for calculating average, absolute, and relative values. 
  5. Study of variation. 
  6. Using indicators of dynamics and economic indices, assessing the speed and intensity of development. 
  7. Sampling methods. 
  8. Correlations and regression analysis.

Functions and Uses of Statistics

In modern conditions, the function of statistics is a reliable reflection of the development of individual industries and the national economy as a whole. 

The main functions of state statistics are:

  1. Implementation of State policy in statistics. 
  2. Collection, processing, generalization, and comprehensive analysis of statistical information that reflects the state and development of the country. 
  3. Development and implementation of statistical methodology, which is based on the results of scientific research, international standards, and recommendations. 
  4. Ensuring the reliability, objectivity, efficiency of statistical information. 
  5. Ensuring the availability and transparency, openness of the consolidated statistical data within the limits of the current legislation. 
  6. Analysis of data and assessment of the factors of development of the national economy and its sectors. 
  7. Identification of connections and proportions in the national economy. 
  8. Assessment of reserves for increasing the efficiency of social production. 
  9. Development and improvement of the balance method for compiling the reporting: balances of the national economy, intersectoral balances, balances of material, financial, and labor resources, calculating the social product and national income, households income, and spending; transition to the organization of statistics according to the system of national accounts. 
  10. Strengthening analytical work, which should contain elements of strategic foresight, identifying critical growth points, indicating possible consequences.

So, in conclusion, the main aim of statistics is:

Satisfying the needs of government and administration authorities, the media, the public, the scientific community, commercial organizations and entrepreneurs, international organizations with diverse, objective, and complete statistical information.


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