What is the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics?

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Descriptive Statistics are a group of procedures that summarize data graphically and statistically. Descriptive statistics are designed to describe a sample, and is contrasted with Inferential Statistics which is designed to draw conclusions from the sample to the larger population. Fe40.png - Imagine you conduct a study to determine whether males or females are happier. After collecting data on 1000 subjects you could use "Descriptive Statistics" to identify characteristics of the sample, such as the mean happiness levels, ranges of scores, standard deviation, and so forth; and you could use "Inferential Statistics" to identify if your sample of data generalizes toward the larger population of males and females beyond those in your study.

Inferential Statistics are designed to draw conclusions about a population from a sample of data, and is contrasted with Descriptive Statistics which is designed to describe only the sample. Fe40.png - Imagine you conduct a study to determine whether males or females are happier. After collecting data on 1000 subjects you could use "Descriptive Statistics" to identify characteristics of the sample, such as the mean happiness levels, ranges of scores, standard deviation, and so forth; and you could use "Inferential Statistics" to identify if your sample of data generalizes toward the larger population of males and females beyond those in your study.


What is the theory behind Inferential Statistics? If Inferential Statistics allow you to draw conclusions from a sample to the larger population, how do we know the conclusions are accurate? How researchers address that question is the heart of statistical reasoning:



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