The type of math scientists use to analyze data is called statistics. It enables researchers to learn from numbers by measuring, controlling and communicating degrees of certainty and uncertainty, as explained by the American Statistical Association.
A great many social, political and economic decisions are made based on statistics from research in public health, education, psychology, engineering, marketing and other areas. This research is valuable only if it can be trusted, so results must be both reliable and valid.
Reliability refers to the degree to which a study obtains the same outcome when repeated multiple times. Studies that are reliable get the same results, even if carried out by different researchers. Validity gauges the extent to which a study actually examines what it is intended to investigate. It is concerned with the credibility of a study’s findings.
Statistics is particularly useful with regard to these issues in that it helps investigators avoid being misled by false impressions. By applying statistical techniques, scientists can employ objective measures to quantify a study’s reliability and validity. This renders statistics essential in guiding the progress made in a wide variety of scientific fields and applications. It also illustrates its usefulness in the search for clues to mysteries that have piqued the curiosity of human beings from their beginnings.