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What is a Statistical Question?

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Learning text on the topic What is a Statistical Question?

Statistical Questions

Welcome to a journey into the world of statistics! Today we’ll focus on what makes a question statistical. As we delve into this fascinating topic, you'll learn to recognise questions that anticipate variability in data, or will have more than one answer, and how they play an important role in statistical, or data, analysis.

What is a Statistical Question?

A statistical question expects answers with variability. This means the answer isn't just a single number or fact, but a range of possible outcomes or responses. Therefore, to be answered correctly, statistical questions require statistical methods and data analysis. Statistical questions are essential because they set the stage for gathering and analysing data in ways that reveal trends, patterns and insights.

Key Features of a Statistical Question

Statistical questions share certain characteristics:

  • Anticipation of Variability: They predict that the answers will vary. There will be more than one potential answer.

  • Need for Data Collection: To answer these questions, data must be gathered from different sources or a group of individuals.

  • Potential for Analysis: These questions allow for further data exploration and interpretation.


Non-Statistical vs Statistical Questions

As you may notice, understanding the difference between non-statistical questions and statistical questions is crucial. Non-statistical questions have definite answers, whereas statistical questions expect a variety of answers. Here are some further examples of non-statistical and statistical questions:

Non-Statistical Question Statistical Question
What is 2 + 2? How much time do children spend on homework?
Who is the Prime Minister? What is the average rainfall in London?

Example and Non-example of Statistical Questions

When exploring statistical questions, we need to understand why certain questions fall into this category and others don't. Let's dive deeper with some examples to get a clearer picture.

Example 1: How tall are the children in our class?
Example 2: What is the capital of France?

Statistical Questions – Understanding

Test your new found knowledge of statistical questions by answering the following questions.

What makes a question statistical?
Give an example of a non-statistical question.
Why can't a question with a yes or no answer be statistical?
Is "How many books does each pupil in our school own?" a statistical question? Explain.
How many hours do children in your class spend on homework each week?
What is the name of the tallest mountain in the world?
How many books did the school library add to its collection this year?
Is pizza being served for lunch tomorrow?
What are the favourite ice cream flavours of children in your school?
Does it rain in the Amazon rainforest?

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