**inferential vs descriptive statistics**

Can someone please help me differentiate between the two? I am confused about these 2 terms and want someone to help me out.

infer means to get
for example: I infer that you are a good boy, means that by your behaviour, I understand that you are good… which means that I am able to now, even without consulting any one, that you are good., based on my observations… just like that, given the data, based on some workouts with data, we infer that the data is having such and such qualities… which is nothing but getting to the unknown or knowing unknown, with which is known to us.,

describe means to tell more about the known: for example, when you say about an accident, you can simply say “I saw an accident”, but if your friend is more interested to know about, then you dont repeat the same sentence ten times, but will tell, the way the traffic was, who was coming on which side, who was on the wrong way, how it would have been averted or avoided etc… is called description, like wise, with the given data, you tell more about the data…

Guess, this helps…:blush::blush:


Usually numeric data values about something (say mark, weight, salary) follow some distribution. That is, you can plot the “value Vs frequency” curve. If you convey to me some features/parameters of the distribution/curve, like mean, mode and variance, you are describing the distribution to me… this is descriptive statistics…

Inference statistics is mostly done through samples… for example standing outside the movie theatre by asking some 20 persons to rate the movie out of 5 stars, you get some idea about the movie (that is you infer something about the movie) and you can decide whether to watch the movie or not… in production plants statistical quality control team does this inference statistics (hypothesis testing) on a sample, say 50 items, to decide whether the produced full lot(population, say 1000 items) satisfy the specification or not.

While descriptive statistics lead to a general understanding of the data, inference statistics will lead to some decision making…


These are core topics in the course and will be clarified along the way. So hold on.

Nevertheless, here is a quick take: Inferential statistics aims to infer about the data generation process by looking at a sample. On the other hand, descriptive statistics aims to describe the sample data itself.


Usually , You perform descriptive statistics on the population i.e the data that we are interested in but we inferential statistics uses sample of the population and estimates the population parameters such mean and std etc.

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Please explain week 1 quiz(optional) question based on inferential statistics, the one with hospital records on childbirth. How does it fall under inferential statistics?

Thanks in advance.