Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

A drawer with three types of silveware in a wooden case.
Figure 1.1 A flatware drawer is like a set in that it contains distinct objects. (credit: modification of work “silverware” by Jo Naylor/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Think of a drawer in your kitchen used to store flatware. This drawer likely holds forks, spoons, and knives, and possibly other items such as a meat thermometer and a can opener. The drawer in this case represents a tool used to group a collection of objects. The members of the group are the individual items in the drawer, such as a fork or a spoon.

The members of a set can be anything, such as people, numbers, or letters of the alphabet. In statistical studies, a set is a well-defined collection of objects used to identify an entire population of interest. For example, in a research study examining the effects of a new medication, there can be two sets of people: one set that is given the medication and a different set that is given a placebo (control group). In this chapter, we will discuss sets and Venn diagrams, which are graphical ways to show relationships between different groups.

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Dec 21, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.