Handbook of Mathematical Statistics

Handbook of Mathematical Statistics

Handbook of Mathematical Statistics

Handbook of Mathematical Statistics

Excerpt

The study of a problem by statistical methods usually involves three stages: (1) the collection of material or data; (2) the mathematical analysis of the data thus collected; (3) the interpretation of results, for the particular purpose in view.

As to stage (1), the best methods of collecting data depend almost entirely on the nature of the particular field of inquiry, and are not discussed in this Handbook. The same is true in regard to stage (3); the problems connected with the interpretation of statistical results are necessarily very different in different fields of inquiry, and are not discussed in this Handbook, except as illustrations of the mathematical methods involved.

The problems of stage (2), on the other hand, are in a sense common to all fields of statistical inquiry. Whatever the content of the data may be, the form of the mathematical analysis is essentially the same. It is with these formal problems of mathematical analysis that this Handbook deals. Illustrations are taken from this or that particular field, for the sake of concreteness; but the general applicability of the methods to all fields is constantly borne in mind, and the terminology throughout the Handbook is kept as non-special as possible.

Special emphasis is laid on the limitations surrounding the proper application of the various methods of analysis. Without careful attention to these limitations, the results of a statistical inquiry may be altogether misleading.

Each chapter has been critically read by at least two other contributors besides the author; but the final responsibility for all the chapters rests with the individual authors.

The National Research Council contributed to the preparation of the Handbook by the grant of funds for traveling expenses incident to meetings of the Committee and for a small amount of clerical assistance. The royalties from the book are received by the National Research Council to be made available, if needed, for further work in the field of mathematical statistics.

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