Sometimes you might wonder if as a psychologist you really need to know statistics? The short answer to this is, yes. But the reason statistics is required in the field of mental health and how much of it you need is a different story. As a psychology enthusiast, you would be enquiring and conducting studies on topics that will have a great impact on society. Part of your vocation would include researching topics like learning, memory, eating habits, etc, and having a good hold over statistics will be beneficial. Even if you don’t go into research, clinicians do need to read and interpret the latest findings. Therefore, statistics is indeed an indispensable part of psychology that guides your theory with realistic limitations.
As you course through the subject, you realise that statistics is very much required for completing your chosen master's. Undoubtedly it has great significance and importance in virtually all psychology programs and you will be encountering the subject in many of your classes that involve research and experimental methods. In order for you to become a successful psychologist, you need to pass your statistics class and also be able to understand it. Sound knowledge of statistics in psychology is crucial and you will get to know why once you read this blog post.
Statistics is a branch of mathematics that is focused on the collection, compilation, display, and interpretation of numerical data. On a daily basis, we are confronted with enormous amounts of data and statistics allow us to make sense of it and interpret the information in a meaningful way.
Psychologists depend on statistics to help them understand the meaning of the measurements they make. Consider the data that exists today that is both measurable and in abundance, the hours of sleep you’ve had or the number of people who had breakfast today, or the people who live close to your residence within a 5-mile radius. The use of statistics is a great tool that helps us gather and interpret the data that is useful.
When it comes to psychological testing you may interpret your test results in light of the factors that are crucial to your study. Mainly you interpret the test results in light of the rules or the typical results you get from prior experiments of a similar kind. In research, descriptive and inferential statistics are widely used. Descriptive statistics as suggested by the name simply gives a general picture of the scores in a given group including measures of central tendency and variability. However, when psychologists wish to draw conclusions or inferences from the data obtained, inferential statistics is employed.
Structure Data: When you deal with a large amount of data you can easily lose yourself under the mountain of information. Statistics allows psychologists to project data in ways that are easier to comprehend including visual representations such as pie charts, frequency tables, scatter plots, graphs, and polygraphs. These visual tools will let you oversee the data and get a more holistic perception of your area of study. Only when you can view the data in a constructive and comprehendible manner can you identify and spot patterns that can otherwise be missed. Imagine if you wanted to study the rate of anxiety among unemployed people in your town. Now in order to effectuate your study, you would need to flip through enormous amounts of data. A graphical representation of the population divided among employed and unemployed people and a graph that lists down the percentage of people employed in every sector can be useful pieces of information in your study. Once you have organised your data, taking a hard look at it will help you navigate. Thus, statistics has the power to concise 50 pages of data into one graph that is ripe with useful information.
Explain Data: Statistics in psychology have helped researchers collect a great deal of information about different groups of people in our community. For example, descriptive statistics is a great way to scrutinize facts and produce summarised data. The organised data is now meaningful as we are able to describe it and understand it better than before. Continuing the example mentioned in the section above, describing data is understanding how many men and women are there within the group or how many children there are below the age of 14. Statistics enables psychologists to extract descriptive summaries that let you measure your results.
Making interpretations: Interpreting data is the primary function of statistics and it is no different when it comes to psychological statistics. From what is known as inferential statistics researchers are able to interpret things about a given sample or population. From the collection, organization, and description of the data psychologists attempt to formulate a hypothesis that can be tested. Now the collected data is put into use to test the hypothesis using statistical analysis. With the help of statistical tools, a psychologist can determine how likely the hypothesis is to be accepted or rejected.
A fine sense of statistics can help you excel in a lot of fields. Even within psychology no matter what branch you wish to pursue there is no doubt that you will be spending a great deal of time learning about research. And in psychology, where there is research there are statistics. Foundational knowledge of statistics will do you know better and in fact, help you get a better sense of research.
As a student, you are bound to keep yourself updated on the latest findings and research different ways to approach our mental health problems. Only if you understand statistics can you be a better receiver of psychological information and work on making an informed and refined judgment of the information you come across.
Yes, statistics may seem daunting and hard to follow but now that we understand the significance of the subject, more efforts must be put into excelling at statistics.