10th International
Conference on
Teaching Statistics
8 – 13 July 2018
Kyoto, Japan
Contributed paper list

Contributed Paper C241


“Descriptive Statistics” is a Misnomer-- A Critical Analysis of the typology and structure of statistical techniques in textbooks: Towards a better comprehension in learning and using Statistics


Randa Nasser (Palestine)


I identify some problems I encountered in learning and teaching statistics that comprise the primary reasons why learning frequentist statistics is difficult. They are related to the classification of statistical techniques into “descriptive” and “inferential” statistics, and to textbooks’ structure that doesn’t account for when and why different techniques are employed. I demonstrate with an example why the label “Descriptive Statistics” is a misnomer. They are thought to be employed solely to summarize individual variables when research purpose is descriptive, thus, they are often conflated with the descriptive purpose of the research. I propose a different classification and structure of statistics into inferential and non-inferential techniques and each category includes both summary and analytical techniques for the descriptive and explanatory purposes, respectively.