Statistics seems to mean both numerical records (e.g. "baseball statistics"), and also the analysis of that data (e.g. average, ANOVA, confidence intervals, etc.)

In my work at the moment, I need to deal with statistics in both senses, and it's getting confusing - when someone says "I was working on the stats", I don't know whether they mean they were gathering data, or analysing it!

What is another word for statistics, that differentiates these meanings? I prefer to use statistics to refer the methods of statistical analysis, so is there another way to refer to numerical data? I feel that just using "numerical data" is both cumbersome, and a little too broad.

  • By 'another way to refer to numerical data' you mean collection of data? – user66974 May 21 '15 at 8:14
  • @Josh61 I mean the data itself: "What are his statistics?" "Well, he's 5'9, 163lb, brown hair..." – Benubird May 21 '15 at 8:18
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    Mark Twain had this to say: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." - Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review – amdn May 21 '15 at 9:05

I think the term you need is just data:

Data vs Statistics vs Information

  • These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different, as shown in the following table.
  • Table: Movie Rentals per Month by University Students


  • 2, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, etc.
  • 10, 15, 12, 14, 18 etc.


  • average number of rentals: 2.5
  • average number of rentals: 14


  • 20 university students rent fewer than 5 movies per month

  • 20 university students rent more than 10 movies per month

Statistics are generally presentation-ready; Data will need to be manipulated in order for it to be meaningful.

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