what is the difference between inferential statistics and descriptive statistics?

Descriptive statistics describes or gives us information about data, like interpreting data on a graph. Inferential statistics allows a researcher to make predictions about the information collected. The data allows a researcher to generalize about a population.

1 Like

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. - Imagine you conduct a study to determine whether males or females are happier. Descriptive statistics would graph the statistics from the population surveyed or from whom the data is taken. This only refers to the data one has collected. Inferential statistics would be the next step - can I generalize/apply this to the overall population? Can I make inferences about general gender happiness based on the statistics from my research. One last example, last year I asked 10 AP Psychology students if they liked the class and they all said yes. I then took the class, since I could infer that I would like it as well.
Hope this helps.

1 Like

Thank you!

1 Like

You’re welcome!

This was very helpful, thank you!

Fiveable Logo

2550 north lake drive
suite 2
milwaukee, wi 53211



about for students for parents for teachers for schools & districts content team privacy contact


🥇 2020 Fiveable Olympics study plans upcoming events trivia hypertyper resources cram passes


community tiktok discord twitter instagram facebook careers

*ap® and advanced placement® are registered trademarks of the college board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

© fiveable 2020 | all rights reserved.