Statistics is the science of interpreting measurements. Statistical methods are helpful in the environmental sciences in two situations. The first is when so many measurements have been taken that the information they contain cannot be easily assimilated and comprehended. What is needed is a method to organize the information and summarize its most essential characteristics. The methods of descriptive statistics do this. The second situation is when only a relatively small amount of information has been collected but the researcher would like to use that information to draw conclusions that are as general as possible. Inferences about the relationships and processes operating in the environmental sciences can be made from limited numbers of measurements using the methods of inferential statistics.
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R. M. Haynes
- Springer Netherlands
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