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The what and why of statistics
Statistics can help provide concrete examples of a larger trend, give the basis for an important chart or graph, or make theoretical arguments tangible.
There are two main branches of statistics:
- Descriptive--concerns the numerical or quantitative data alone, and can help draw conclusions about a sample, rather than a population.
- Inferential--concerns the conclusions drawn about an entire population which are infered through the results of a random sampling of a population
Be aware of bias in statistics! Numbers can be manipulated, and charts and graphs can be arranged to give a certain impression. Always double-check your facts!
If you're looking for data about the US government, these are the best places to start.
Provides easy access to both state and federal agencies that produce statistics. Allows you to search by agency or subject area.
- White House Federal Government Statistics
Official White House site organized into themed "briefing rooms" that will link you to other official resources.
- American FactFinder
Provides popular statistics and frequently asked questions about local communities.
- US Census
Provides a multitude of information about the United States at both a micro and macro level.
A part of the Open Government Initiative. Provides open access to governmental datasets for the United States.
Provides micro and macro data about the United States.