Seeing What Statistical Symbols Stand For

By Deborah J. Rumsey, David Unger

Part of U Can: Statistics For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Symbols (or notation) found in statistics problems fall into three main categories: math symbols, symbols referring to a population, and symbols referring to a sample.

  • Math symbols are easy enough to decipher with a simple review of algebra. They involve items such as square root signs, equations of a line, and combinations of math operations.

  • Population symbols are almost always lowercase Greek letters. They refer to the unknown population values that you’re trying to estimate.

  • Sample symbols are almost always lowercase English letters with accents. They refer to the known statistics that are calculated from data.