Apart from the methods comprising the scope of descriptive and inferential branches of statistics, statistics also consists of methods of dealing with a few other issues of specific nature. Since these methods are essentially descriptive in nature, they have been discussed here as part of the descriptive statistics. These are mainly concerned with the following:
- It often becomes necessary to examine how two paired data sets are related. For example, we may have data on the sales of a product and the expenditure incurred on its advertisement for a specified number of years. Given that sales and advertisement expenditure are related to each other, it is useful to examine the nature of relationship between the two and quantify the degree of that relationship. As this requires use of appropriate statistical methods, these falls under the purview of what we call regression and correlation analysis.
- Situations occur quite often when we require averaging (or totalling) of data on prices and/or quantities expressed in different units of measurement. For example, price of cloth may be quoted per meter of length and that of wheat per kilogram of weight. Since ordinary methods of totalling and averaging do not apply to such price/quantity data, special techniques needed for the purpose are developed under index numbers.
- Many a time, it becomes necessary to examine the past performance of an activity with a view to determining its future behaviour. For example, when engaged in the production of a commodity, monthly product sales are an important measure of evaluating performance. This requires compilation and analysis of relevant sales data over time. The more complex the activity, the
more varied the data requirements. For profit maximising and future sales planning, forecast of likely sales growth rate is crucial. This needs careful collection and analysis of past sales data. All such concerns are taken care of under time series analysis.
- Obtaining the most likely future estimates on any aspect(s) relating to a business or economic activity has indeed been engaging the minds of all concerned. This is particularly important when it relates to product sales and demand, which serve the necessary basis of production scheduling and planning. The regression, correlation, and time series analyses together help develop the basic methodology to do the needful. Thus, the study of methods and techniques of obtaining the likely estimates on business/economic variables comprises the scope of what we do under business forecasting.
Keeping in view the importance of inferential statistics, the scope of statistics may finally be restated as consisting of statistical methods which facilitate decision-- making under conditions of uncertainty. While the term statistical methods is often used to cover the subject of statistics as a whole, in particular it refers to methods by which statistical data are analysed, interpreted, and the inferences drawn for decision- making.
Though generic in nature and versatile in their applications, statistical methods have come to be widely used, especially in all matters concerning business and economics. These are also being increasingly used in biology, medicine, agriculture, psychology, and education. The scope of application of these methods has started opening and expanding in a number of social science disciplines as well. Even a political scientist finds them of increasing relevance for examining the political behaviour and it is, of course, no surprise to find even historians statistical data, for history is essentially past data presented in certain actual format.