Unit 1: Exploring Data

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 Main Concepts

• In this course, we'll see two approaches to data analysis. In one, we ask questions and then gather data to answer the questions. In the other, we have data already, and then ask appropriate questions. In this unit, we'll focus on the second approach.

• Data are numbers in context.

• In order to answer questions about research or study, data must first be organized. Organization includes both numerical and graphical summaries.

• Summaries (both numerical and graphical) have dual roles: they help us explore and discover possibly unknown features of the data, and they are also used to communicate features of the data to others.

• Numerical and graphical summaries should capture features of the distribution of the data. Important features include the center, the spread, and the shape. Any unusual features in the data should also be acknowledged.

• Focus should be on interpretation of organized data, not calculation (of numerical summaries) or construction (of graphs).