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In the previous chapter you have studied that how to collect data. You also found the difference between census and sampling. Here, you will know how the data, that you collected, are to be classified. The purpose of classifying raw data is to bring order in them so that they can be subjected to further statistical analysis easily.

Have you ever observed your local junk dealer or Kabadiwallah to whom you sell old newspapers, broken household items, empty glass bottles, plastics etc? He purchases these things from you and sells them to those who recycle them. But with so much junk in his shop, it would be very difficult for him to manage his trade, if he had not organised them properly. To tackle this situation, he suitably groups or “classifies” various junk items.

He puts old newspapers together and ties them with a rope, then collects all empty glass bottles in a sack. He heaps the articles of metals in one corner of his shop and sorts them into groups like “iron”, “copper”, “aluminium”, “brass” etc., and so on. In this way, he groups his junk into different classes — “newspapers, “plastics”, “glass”, “metals” etc. — and brings order in them. Once his junk is arranged and classified, it becomes easier for him to find a particular item that a buyer may demand.

Likewise when you arrange your schoolbooks in a certain order, it becomes easier for you to handle them. You may classify them according to subjects where each subject becomes a group or a class. So, when you need a particular book on history, for instance, all you need to do is to search that book in the group “History”. Otherwise, you would have to search through your entire collection to find the particular book you are looking for. While classification of objects or things saves our valuable time and effort, it is not done in an arbitrary manner. The Kabadiwallah groups his junk in such a way that each group consists of similar items.

For example, under the group “Glass” he would put empty bottles, broken mirrors and windowpanes etc. Similarly when you classify your history books under the group “History” you would not put a book of a different subject in that group. Otherwise the entire purpose of grouping would be lost. Therefore classification is nothing but arranging or organising similar things into groups or classes.

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