Statistics as a discipline is the development and application of methods to collect, analyze and interpret numerical information from data. Descriptive statistics involves methods of organizing, picturing and summarizing information from data. Inferential statistics involves methods of using information from a sample to draw conclusions about the population.

Although statistics may be treated as a branch of mathematics, it is better to think of it as a discipline that is founded upon mathematics. Specifically, statistics is built up from the field of mathematics known as probability. Probability gives us a way to determine how likely an event is to occur. It also gives us a way to talk about randomness. Probability is a key to statistics because the typical sample needs to be randomly selected from the population.

Probability was first studied in the 1700s by mathematicians Pascal and Fermat. The 1700s also marked the beginning of statistics. Statistics continued to grow from its probability roots, and really took off in the 1800s. Today it's theoretical scope continues to be enlarged in what is known as mathematical statistics.

Modern statistical methods involve the design and analysis of experiments and surveys, the quantification of biological, social and scientific phenomenon and the application of statistical principles to understand more about the world around us.

Since data are used in most areas of human endeavor, the theory and methods of modern statistics have been applied to a wide variety of fields. Statisticians apply statistical thinking and methods to a wide variety fields namely: Medical, astronomy, biology, education, economics, engineering, genetics, marketing, manufacturing and management, government, research institutes, psychology, public health, sports are among many.

Many economic, social, political and military decisions can't be made without statistical techniques, such as the design of experiments to gain government approval of a newly manufactured drug. Exciting new areas are opening up, due to developments in areas such as biotechnology, survey research and computing.