# Difference Between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

• Post category:Economics

## Definition ofÂ  Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

Descriptive

Descriptive statistics is a branch of statistics that involves the summary and presentation of numerical data. It is used to describe and summarize data, such as a set of observations or measurements. Descriptive statistics are used to provide a snapshot of the data, to organize and simplify it, and to communicate it to others. Some common types of descriptive statistics include measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion.

Measures of central tendency refer to the typical or representative value of a data set. The three most common measures of central tendency are the mean, median, and mode. The mean is calculated by adding up all the values in the data set and dividing by the number of values. The median is the middle value of a data set when the values are arranged in order, and the mode is the value that appears most frequently in the data set.

Measures of dispersion, on the other hand, provide information about the variability or spread of the data. The range is the difference between the largest and smallest values in a data set, while the variance and standard deviation describe how much the values in a data set vary from the mean.

Descriptive statistics are commonly used in various research fields, including social sciences, healthcare, business, and many others. They are used to summarize and communicate the characteristics of a data set, and to help researchers understand the patterns and trends within their data. However, it is important to note that descriptive statistics cannot be used to make inferences or generalize findings to a larger population. To do this, inferential statistics are needed.

Inferential Statistics

Inferential statistics is a branch of statistics that involves using sample data to make inferences about a larger population. It is used to generalize findings from a sample to a larger population, test hypotheses, and make predictions. Inferential statistics are based on probability theory and statistical models, and they allow researchers to determine the likelihood of the observed results occurring by chance.

Inferential statistics typically involve hypothesis testing, which is a process of making a statement about a population parameter based on a sample statistic. The process involves formulating a null hypothesis, which is a statement that there is no significant difference or relationship between two variables, and an alternative hypothesis, which is a statement that there is a significant difference or relationship between two variables. The researcher then collects data and performs a statistical test to determine whether the null hypothesis can be rejected or not.

Another key concept in inferential statistics is sampling. In order to generalize findings from a sample to a population, the sample must be representative of the population. This can be achieved by using random sampling techniques, where every member of the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample. The size of the sample also affects the accuracy of the inferences that can be made about the population.

Inferential statistics are used in various research fields, including social sciences, healthcare, business, and many others. They allow researchers to make predictions, test hypotheses, and draw conclusions about a population based on a sample of data. However, it is important to note that inferential statistics have limitations, and the inferences made from the data may be affected by various factors, such as sampling bias or measurement error. Therefore, it is important to carefully design studies and use appropriate statistical methods to ensure the validity and reliability of the results.

## Differences Between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

The main differences between descriptive and inferential statistics are:

1. Purpose: The main purpose of descriptive statistics is to summarize and describe a data set, while the main purpose of inferential statistics is to make inferences about a population based on a sample of data.
2. Population: Descriptive statistics deal with a single data set, while inferential statistics deal with populations and samples.
3. Analysis: Descriptive statistics involve the use of measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion, while inferential statistics involve hypothesis testing and estimation of parameters.
4. Generalization: Descriptive statistics do not allow for generalization of findings to a larger population, while inferential statistics allow for generalization of findings to a larger population.
5. Probability: Descriptive statistics do not involve the use of probability theory, while inferential statistics are based on probability theory.
6. Samples: Descriptive statistics can be used with any size of data set, while inferential statistics require a representative sample to make valid inferences.

Descriptive statistics summarize and describe a single data set, while inferential statistics make inferences about a larger population based on a sample of data. Both types of statistics are important in data analysis and are used in various research fields to help researchers make sense of large amounts of data and draw meaningful conclusions from their observations.

### Conclusion

Descriptive and inferential statistics are two branches of statistics that are used in data analysis to summarize, describe, and make inferences about data. Descriptive statistics involve the use of measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion to describe a data set, while inferential statistics involve hypothesis testing and estimation of parameters to make inferences about a population based on a sample of data. Both types of statistics are important in data analysis and are used in various research fields to help researchers make sense of large amounts of data and draw meaningful conclusions from their observations. It is important to carefully choose the appropriate statistical methods and techniques to ensure the validity and reliability of the results.

### References Website

Here are some websites that you may find useful for further reading on the topic of descriptive and inferential statistics: