We gather data because we want to know something. These data are useful only if they provide information about what we want to know.
A scientist usually seeks to develop knowledge in three stages. The first stage is to describe
a class of scientific events. The second stage is to explain
these events. The third stage is to predict
the occurrence of these events. The ability to predict an event implies some level of understanding of the rule of nature governing the event.
The ability to predict outcomes of actions allows the scientist to make better decisions about such actions. At best, a general scientific rule may be inferred from repeated events of this type.
Statistics in Medicine
Robert H. Riffenburgh
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