Do we actually need statistics to understand our data? Surely it would be easier to just simply look at the data as a whole and assume common trends and be done with it? It’s just the same as doing a jig-saw puzzle, you get half way through and you already know what the pictures going to be. But with each statistic another piece is added to the puzzle and sure enough, we finally get the full picture. From there we can appreciate the data for what its worth, be it evidence for a genetic predisposition for aggression*, or simply a cute picture of a dog smiling.
By breaking down data to individual statistics, we can understand and interpret data in more in-depth and useful ways. Rather than just saying there is a correlation between delinquent behaviour and poverty**, we can look at the presented data and measure the magnitude of the effect. Get right down to the crux of the issue, and from there can formulate theories and strategies in how to mediate this delinquent behaviour. This could be anything from social support such as group meetings, to individual therapy and counselling addressing the behaviour directly.
Not only this, but statistics enable your data to be presented and evaluated in more exciting and interesting ways. (I know, who thought this was possible) But with the magic of stats, endless reams of data compiled in tables of apparent gobbledegoop, can be transformed into simple and easy to understand graphical representations. From here we can simply look at the graph and say “It appears there is a positive correlation between squeaky voices and helium intake” Quite simply, the possibilities of data analysis becomes near infinite with the joy that is statistics.
So to conclude, statistics are not simply there to confuse and scare us, but quite the opposite. They are a useful tool into identifying the important bits of data that may have previously been overlooked. And while they may seem a tad dull and boring at times, remember that without statistics you would never know that 100 people a year choke to death on ball-point pens.***