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7.01 Statistical questions

Lesson

Identifying statistical questions 

Governments, businesses and researchers gather statistics so they can draw conclusions and make decisions about specific issues. So if we're using statistics to make these important decisions, it's important to make sure that we're really investigating that issue.

That's why it's important to make sure we ask the right questions when we are collecting data. We need specific research questions that will give us specific answers to the questions we are investigating.

We also need to understand what graphs and statistical information are trying to tell us so we can draw conclusions based on information that is presented to us.

Features of a statistical question

A statistical question must do all of the following:

  • have a variety of possible answers: there has to be more than one answer to a question
  • state a population: it must apply to more than one person
  • need some statistical methods to answer the question

Practice questions

QUESTION 1

Select all of the statistical questions below.

  1. How much do puppies weigh?

    A

    Have you ever visited Paris, France?

    B

    How old are Olympic gold medal winners when they win their medal?

    C

    What is the wage of people in California?

    D

    What superpower would you want to have?

    E

    Do you prefer pasta or pizza?

    F

    How much do puppies weigh?

    A

    Have you ever visited Paris, France?

    B

    How old are Olympic gold medal winners when they win their medal?

    C

    What is the wage of people in California?

    D

    What superpower would you want to have?

    E

    Do you prefer pasta or pizza?

    F

Question 2

Is the following a statistical question?

  1. Is your mom taller than your dad?

    Yes

    A

    No

    B

    Yes

    A

    No

    B
  2. Why is the above question not a statistical question?

    There is a lack of variability in the possible answers.

    A

    It doesn't state a population.

    B

    You do not need to use any statistical method to find out the answer.

    C

    There is a lack of variability in the possible answers.

    A

    It doesn't state a population.

    B

    You do not need to use any statistical method to find out the answer.

    C

Question 3

The motor authority wants to design a new advertising campaign targeting speeding among young drivers. To help make an effective ad, they want to ask a sample of young drivers to answer some questions in a survey.

  1. Which of the following questions should they include in the survey if they want to minimize biased responses?

    Do you think there is such thing as 'safe speeding'?

    A

    How old are you?

    B

    Do you pay attention to speed signs?

    C

    What is a safe speed?

    D

    Do you think there is such thing as 'safe speeding'?

    A

    How old are you?

    B

    Do you pay attention to speed signs?

    C

    What is a safe speed?

    D

 

Identifying statistical attributes 

An attribute is defined as a specific characteristic or feature of a given subject. When we talk about statistical attributes, we mean the specific topic or subject that we want to investigate. If we can clearly identify the statistical attributes in a research project, it helps us generate clear research questions so we can make useful conclusions.

Let's practice identifying statistical attributes.

Practice questions

Question 4

What statistical attributes would need to be considered if you were trying to investigate how many pets your classmates own?

  1. The number of pets they own

    A

    How much their pets weigh.

    B

    The type of pets they own

    C

    The number of pets they own

    A

    How much their pets weigh.

    B

    The type of pets they own

    C

QUESTION 5

What statistical attributes could be being shown in the graph to the right?

  1. Number of children who travel to school and their mode of transport

    A

    How many people prefer each mode of transport

    B

    Number of teachers who travel to school and their mode of transport

    C

    Number of children who travel to school and their mode of transport

    A

    How many people prefer each mode of transport

    B

    Number of teachers who travel to school and their mode of transport

    C

QUESTION 6

What statistical attribute is being compared in the bar graph?

Preferred SportSportNumber of boys510boxingtennisfootballbaseballbasketball

  1. Preferred sport

    A

    The number of hours of sport played

    B

    Number of boys

    C

    Preferred sport

    A

    The number of hours of sport played

    B

    Number of boys

    C

 

Outcomes

MGSE6.SP.1

Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers.

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