Obviously, econometrics means different things to different people. To beginning students, it may seem as if econometrics is an overly complex obstacle to an otherwise useful education. To skeptical observers, econometric results should be trusted only when the steps that produced those results are completely known. To professionals in the field, econometrics is a fascinating set of techniques that allows the measurement and analysis of economic phenomena and the prediction of future economic trends.
You’re probably thinking that such diverse points of view sound like the statements of blind people trying to describe an elephant based on what they happen to be touching, and you’re partially right. Econometrics has both a formal definition and a larger context. Although you can easily memorize the formal definition, you’ll get the complete picture only by understanding the many uses of and alternative approaches to econometrics.