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## Statistics and probability

### Course: Statistics and probability>Unit 6

Lesson 1: Statistical questions

# Statistical and non statistical questions

A statistical question is one that can be answered by collecting data and where there will be variability in that data. For example, there will likely be variability in the data collected to answer the question, "How much do the animals at Fancy Farm weigh?" but not to answer, "What color hat is Sara wearing?". Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

• In , it is said that the question "Find the difference in rainfall in Seattle and Singapore in 2013" is not a statistical question. However, to find the amount of rainfall, you have to measure the rainfall on each day. It is data with variability, so shouldn't it be a statistical question?
• If the question asked to compare the total rainfall in 2013 to the average over that past five years, then that would be a statistical question. Look for key words for measures of central tendency and trends, rather than computation of exact amounts.
• Would a non-statistical question like, "What is 4x5?" become a statistical question if someone had the wrong answer?
• I believe it could be a statistical question if it were something like this:
"How many 3rd graders got the question, 'What is 4 x 5?' wrong on this year's state test compared to last year?"
These types of questions really depend a lot on the exact words used to express the question.
• Are categorical questions statistical questions? For example, "What are the color of eyes of the 6th grade class?" While the answer is qualitative rather than quantitative, and would use a bar graph rather than a histogram, is it still a statistical question since it has variability?
• Statistical, if depends on who you ask. I have brown eyes but I can bet that the next person has blue. But then again, can't all questions have variation in them?
• At , is it only a statistical question if you mention "in 2013" before you added it in the last example, or can it be statistical either way?
• Without the in 2013, it is kind of a complicated case. You have to think about what you want to consider. if you say throughout the history of the schools or since 1800, then this does become a statistical question no matter how you look at it. However, considering other things (like in 2013), you have concrete numbers that you can check the difference of, making it not a statistical question
• Question 8 asks: "In general, will I use less gas driving at 55 than at 70 mph?" The instructor states that variability in road conditions and in automobiles mean this question is statistical, however the question asks if, in general, *I* will use less gas. Because I can only drive one automobile at any given time, all of the conditions of any given trip are constant regardless of the speed at which I drive and the only variable is my speed. If in all cases I would use less gas driving at 55 than at 70 mph, does this not mean that there is no variability in the outcomes and therefore this cannot be a statistical question? To put it a different way, because there will never be a time when I get into a car and say, "Hey! With this car and these road conditions I can save more gas driving at 70 than I would driving at 55", there is nothing to analyze. Hmm.. Or perhaps there is some rule of thumb which says that any time you see the words "In General" or "On Average", it is automatically a statistical question regardless of the particulars of the question? Such a rule should be stated explicitly. But then it would follow that the question "In general what base does the binary number system use?" would also be a statistical question (which it is not). For these reasons, question 8 can't be statistical. What do you think? Thanks.
• It is statistical because you drive the car multiple times, thus coming up with a set of numbers rather than just one.
• Hi Do statistical questions have an origin?
• italics
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• Really? What doesn't work? I've been here for years and I've seen many updates but I'm fairly certain everything works.