Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Introduction to statistics: Introduction

Introduction to statistics


Welcome to the Introduction to statistics module. This module introduces you to some of the concepts required to interpret published statistics, as well as to a range of ways you can analyse your own data using statistics.


You may wish to work your way through the entirety of the module in the order provided, or you may wish to jump to certain pages or sections of the module according to need or preference. In particular, if you are just looking to learn about how to interpret published statistics you may only want to work through the first page of the module, or if you are interested in analysing your own data using statistics you may wish to start from the second page of the module. Additionally, if you are interested in finding out how to conduct the statistical tests detailed in this module in the statistical software SPSS, you might also like to check out the Introduction to SPSS module.


What you will learn

  1. How to interpret and critically evaluate published statistics, including how to differentiate between descriptive and inferential statistics and statistical and practical significance as required (skip to Interpreting statistics).
  2. What data and variables are, and how to distinguish between categorical and continuous data and independent and dependent variables (skip to Data and variable types).
  3. What descriptive statistics are, and how to display data and calculate descriptive statistics for one and two variables at a time for both categorical and continuous data (skip to Descriptive statistics).
  4. What the normal distribution is, its key properties and how to test to see whether data approximates a normal distribution (skip to The normal distribution).
  5. What inferential statistics are, including how to distinguish between estimation and hypothesis testing, and how to calculate confidence intervals and to conduct and interpret a range of hypothesis tests (skip to Inferential statistics).