# What is a Statistical Question?

## Statistical Questions

Welcome to a journey into the world of statistics, specifically focusing on what makes a question statistical. As we delve into this fascinating topic, you'll learn to recognize questions that anticipate variability in data and how they play a crucial role in statistical 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 analyzing 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 students spend on homework?
Who is the President? What are the ages of people in our neighborhood?

## Example and Non-example of Statistical Questions

When exploring statistical questions, it's essential 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 students in our class?
Example 2: What is the capital of France?

## Statistical Questions – Understanding

Test your newfound 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 student in our school own?" a statistical question? Explain.
Is "What is the formula for calculating the area of a circle?" a statistical question? Why or why not?

## Statistical Questions – Real Life Application

Businesses analyze customer behavior, market trends, and sales data using statistical questions to make informed decisions about product development, pricing, and marketing strategies.

• Healthcare professionals use statistical questions to investigate disease patterns, evaluate the effectiveness of treatments, and monitor population health.
• Government agencies use statistical questions to collect data on the economy, crime rates, and demographic information in order to make informed policy decisions.

## Statistical Questions – Practice

Now that you understand what makes a statistical question, it’s time to practice. Below are some questions, and you need to answer if it is a statistical question or not, and why.

How many hours do students 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 the school cafeteria serving pizza for lunch tomorrow?
What are the favorite ice cream flavors of students in your school?
Does it rain in the Amazon rainforest?

## What is a Statistical Question?– Summary

Key Learnings from this Text:

• A statistical question expects a range of answers, not just one.

• It requires the collection and analysis of data.

• Understanding the difference between statistical and non-statistical questions helps in comprehending how data works in our world.

Keep exploring different questions around you and try to classify them as statistical or non-statistical. This skill will enhance your understanding of data and statistics! Now that you understand what a statistical question is, you can explore What Can Statistics Be Used For.

## What is a Statistical Question?– Frequently Asked Questions

What is a simple definition of a statistical question?
Why is understanding statistical questions important?
Can a statistical question have a numerical answer?
How do statistical questions relate to real-life scenarios?
What is an example of a good statistical question for a school project?
Are all questions with numerical answers statistical?
How does a statistical question lead to data analysis?
What role do statistical questions play in surveys?
Can a statistical question have a 'right' answer?
How can I think statistically?

## What is a Statistical Question? exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the learning text What is a Statistical Question?.
• ### What are the features that make a question statistical?

Hints

Statistical questions do not have one specific answer.

We often would need to collect and analyse data to answer a statistical question.

Solution

When asking a statistical question we would expect a variety of responses. The answers are not fixed or based on facts. To answer a statistical question we would have to collect data and analyse the results.

• ### Are the following questions statistical or non-statistical?

Hints

Does the question have a fixed answer that would be the same no matter who was asked? If so, then it is not a statistical question.

Can you collect data based on peoples answers? If so, then it is a statistical question.

Solution

Statistical questions include:

How many books do 11 year olds read?

• This would require us to gather the responses from many 11 year olds, and analyse the results.
What is the most popular food on the lunch menu at your school?

• The answer would vary depending on the school, and as above we would have to gather lots of data from different schools.
What is the daily average rainfall in mm in the Michigan in June?

• This answer would vary each year, and could also vary across the state of Michigan. To get an accurate answer, we would have to measure the rainfall each day in June over several years, and in different parts of the state.
_____________________________________________________

Non-statistical questions are:

• How many sides does a square have?
• In which continent is Singapore located?
• What is 10 x 7?
The above questions all have a definite correct answer, and there would be no variation in the responses.

• ### Is the following question statistical or non statistical, and why?

Hints

Would different people give different answers?

Does the answer need some kind of data collection?

There are two correct statements to tick.

Solution

Correct statements are:

This question is non-statistical

This question has a definite correct answer.

This is a trickier one, but it is not a statistical question. The correct answer is 4 or 5 Tuesdays, depending on which day of the week 1st June falls on. Everybody asked should say the same thing, so there would be no variety in responses.

• ### Is the following question statistical or non-statistical, and why?

Hints

There will be lots of different responses to this question.

We could collect data from pupils in our school to answer the question.

There are two correct statements to tick.

Solution

The correct statements are:

This question is statistical.

This question allows for data collection of teenagers' responses.

This is a statistical question. There will be lots of different music preferences, and we can collect and analyse the data to discover the most popular genres.

• ### What makes a question a statistical question?

Hints

Remember, a statistical question doesn't have one definitive answer, but a variety of answers are expected. You cannot search the internet for an answer, since it will depend on individual circumstances.

The answer requires data to be collected and analysed.

Where is the world's tallest building?

Here is an example of a non-statistical question, as there is a definite answer to this question. No data collection would be needed.

Solution

A variety of answers is expected

The answer requires data to be gathered and analysed.

If an answer is fixed or definite, then it isn't a statistical question since every person who answers would give say the same thing. This would also mean there would be no data to analyse.

• ### How can we alter the following question to make it statistical?

Hints

We want the question to generate a range of responses, so choose a question that will have variety in answers.

To be able to analyse the results, the question shouldn't be vague. "Fit and healthy" can mean different things to different people, so how can we analyse their responses?

The question should be written clearly so that although we're expecting different answers, they should be given in the same format.

Solution

The most suitable question would be:

On average, how many hours of exercise do pupils in our school do each week?

In order to answer this question, you would need to collect data from pupils. Their range of responses could be grouped by number of hours, and we can then draw conclusions from the data.

________________________________________________________

Are pupils in your school fit and healthy?

This is a vague question. "Fit and healthy" could mean different things to different people, so the responses would not be consistent.

How much exercise do people in your town do each week?

Whilst this appears to be a good question, it doesn't specify a format for the answer. Some people might answer "a lot" or "not much", and others might answer in hours, or some people could say "3 times a week". This would make the data difficult to analyse.*

Do pupils in your class like to take part in sports or exercise?

Again, quite a vague question. When we collect the data, we're likely to get "yes" or "no" responses, so we wouldn't get a huge amount of information from their answers. Asking which sports are most popular could allow for more variation in results.

Rating

Be the first to give a rating!
The authors
sofatutor Team
What is a Statistical Question?
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.1