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The what and why of statistics
Statistics can help provide concrete examples of a larger trend, give the basis for an important chart or graph, or make theoretical arguments tangible.
There are two main branches of statistics:
- Descriptive--concerns the numerical or quantitative data alone, and can help draw conclusions about a sample, rather than a population.
- Inferential--concerns the conclusions drawn about an entire population which are infered through the results of a random sampling of a population
Be aware of bias in statistics! Numbers can be manipulated, and charts and graphs can be arranged to give a certain impression. Always double-check your facts!
If you're looking for data about the US government, these are the best places to start.
For U.S. Statistics; lists topics as well as individual government agencies.
A good source for data about agriculture, education, employment, health, law, etc. Their website features valuable links to other official statistical resources, both domestic and international.
Macro and Micro data about the United States.
NCES-Federal Government and Statistical Agencies List
One-stop shop list of resources of federal and stastical agencies published by the National Center for Educational Statistics.