…using the example of our study: “Identification of different factors associated with Covid-19 deaths in Europe during the first pandemic wave”
A large group of statistical techniques designed to explain past data and also to predict future data is statistical modelling. This means that for a given data set with very different variables, one finds a mathematical structure that represents this data set as well as possible, firstly in a purely formal way. This procedure can be used to examine the influence of different variables on an outcome variable. In the language of modelling, the variable that one wants to explain is the dependent variable or criterion or outcome variable, and the different variables that are supposed to contribute to the clarification of this one variable are several independent variables resp. predictors.
I use our recently published modelling study  as a concrete example. It was conceived by me, I calculated the first analyses, then my colleague Rainer J. Klement got involved, who as a physicist is much more nimble in dealing with such models than I am.