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n statistics the term “population” has a slightly different meaning from the one given to it in ordinary speech. It need not refer only to people or to animate creatures – the population of Britain, for instance or the dog population of London. Statisticians also speak of a population of objects, or events, or procedures, or observations, including such things as the quantity of lead in urine, visits to the doctor, or surgical operations. A population is thus an aggregate of creatures, things, cases and so on.Although a statistician should clearly define the population he or she is dealing with, they may not be able to enumerate it exactly. For instance, in ordinary usage the population of England denotes the number of people within England’s boundaries, perhaps as enumerated at a census. But a physician might embark on a study to try to answer the question “What is the average systolic blood pressure of Englishmen aged 40-59?” But who are the “Englishmen” referred to here? Not all Englishmen live in England, and the social and genetic background of those that do may vary. A surgeon may study the effects of two alternative operations for gastric ulcer. But how old are the patients? What sex are they? How severe is their disease? Where do they live? And so on. The reader needs precise information on such matters to draw valid inferences from the sample that was studied to the population being considered. Statistics such as averages and standard deviations, when taken from populations are referred to as population parameters. They are often denoted by Greek letters: the population mean is denoted by μ(mu) and the standard deviation denoted by ς (low case sigma)

n statistics the term “population” has a slightly different meaning from the one given to it in ordinary speech. It need not refer only to people or to animate creatures – the population of Britain, for instance or the dog population of London. Statisticians also speak of a population of objects, or events, or procedures, or observations, including such things as the quantity of lead in urine, visits to the doctor, or surgical operations. A population is thus an aggregate of creatures, things, cases and so on.Although a statistician should clearly define the population he or she is dealing with, they may not be able to enumerate it exactly. For instance, in ordinary usage the population of England denotes the number of people within England’s boundaries, perhaps as enumerated at a census. But a physician might embark on a study to try to answer the question “What is the average systolic blood pressure of Englishmen aged 40-59?” But who are the “Englishmen” referred to here? Not all Englishmen live in England, and the social and genetic background of those that do may vary. A surgeon may study the effects of two alternative operations for gastric ulcer. But how old are the patients? What sex are they? How severe is their disease? Where do they live? And so on. The reader needs precise information on such matters to draw valid inferences from the sample that was studied to the population being considered. Statistics such as averages and standard deviations, when taken from populations are referred to as population parameters. They are often denoted by Greek letters: the population mean is denoted by μ(mu) and the standard deviation denoted by ς (low case sigma)

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