Difference Between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics (With Table)

The heart of data analytics and the path that helps us to spot the patterns and trends, help in drafting a plan and provide a meaning to them is known as statistics. The statistical methods are a vast topic of study and include many things, but the subdivisions of statistics are descriptive statistics and Inferential Statistics.

Descriptive Statistics vs Inferential Statistics

The difference between descriptive statistics and Inferential Statistics is that descriptive statistics are used to describe the features of a population, while inferential statistics are used to make generalizations about a larger population. The sole purpose of Descriptive Statistics is to present the data factually, while Inferential Statistics predicts the future outcomes of an event.

Descriptive statistics are used to describe the features of a population and present the data received factually. Descriptive statistics describe both individual observations as well as the overall process that helps you to obtain insights from the datasets. Descriptive statistics help you to describe both the individual sample and the population sample.

Inferential Statistics is used to make generalizations through a specific Sample. This generalization is about a larger population. The results of inferential statistics are presented in the form of probability. Since it is based on generalizations, the accuracy of inferential statistics depends upon the representative of the population under observation and the accuracy of the available data.

Comparison Table Between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

Parameters of ComparisonDescriptive StatisticsInferential Statistics
DefinitionDescriptive statistics are used to describe the features of a population and present the data received factually. Inferential Statistics is used to make generalizations through a specific Sample. This generalization is about a larger population.
UsesDescriptive statistics help us to organize, analyze and then present the data obtained In a meaningful way. Inferential Statistics helps you in the comparison of data, making predictions and hypotheses.
Technique UsedCentral tendency, Variance, and distribution. Hypothesis testing, Correlation, and regression analysis, and Confidence intervals
Basis of ConclusionThe conclusions are only based on the available data The conclusions usually go beyond the available data.
ResultThe results are presented in the form of charts, graphs, or tables. The results are presented in the form of probabilities.
AdvantageDescriptive statistics help you to define the basic characteristics of a group and help you to quantify them. Inferential Statistics helps you to understand the relationship between Dependant and independent variables.
DisadvantageThe disadvantage of descriptive statistics is that you can only produce results about the people or articles that you have already studied and collected data about. The disadvantage of inferential statistics is that the entire data is not collected and hence you can never be completely sure about the results that you obtain.

What is Descriptive Statistics?

Descriptive statistics are coefficients that are used to summarise a given dataset. This dataset can either be based on an individual or a group of people. Descriptive Statistics is further bifurcated into Measures of variability and measures of central tendency. Descriptive statistics help you to organize, understand and describe the features of A data set by summarising and measuring data. The most common methods used in descriptive statistics are mean, mode and median.

Descriptive statistics are often used by people to repurpose quantitative insights that are difficult to understand because of the large amount of data available. Descriptive statistics can not be used to make a prediction, and they are always based on factual data.

What is Inferential Statistics?

Inferential Statistics are used to make Predictions from the provided dataset. Inferential Statistics covers two major areas that include; Hypothesis tests and estimating parameters.

By using inferential statistics, you take up a set of data and use that to determine whether the observations from that data can be used to make predictions about the entire population or not. Inferential Statistics mainly focuses on making predictions about a large group of people and then submitting the results in the form of probability.

Simple data being highly cost-effective and less effort taking is preferred in the inferential statistics method, and It helps you to reach a reasonable conclusion based on the Characteristics of the sample. Random and unbiased sampling methods are preferred to get a more accurate prediction.

Main Differences Between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

  1. Descriptive statistics are used to describe the features of a population, while inferential statistics are used to make generalizations about a large group of people.
  2. Descriptive statistics come in handy when you want to organize, analyze and then present the data thus obtained in a meaningful manner, while Inferential Statistics helps you in comparison of data, making predictions and hypotheses.
  3. The techniques used for descriptive statistics are Central tendency, Variance, and distribution, while those used for inferential statistics are Hypothesis Testing, Correlation, and regression analysis, and Confidence Intervals.
  4. The conclusions in descriptive statistics are only based on the data which is available at hand, while the conclusion of inferential statistics usually extends beyond the available data.
  5. The results of descriptive statistics are presented as charts, graphs, tables, while the results of inferential statistics are presented in the form of probability.
  6. Descriptive statistics help you to define the basic characteristics of a group and help you to quantify them, while Inferential Statistics helps you to understand the relationship between Dependant and independent variables.

Conclusion

Statistics is the heart of data analytics which helps us to spot the patterns and trends, help in drafting a plan, and provides meaning to them. Statistics is broadly divided into two main categories, which include descriptive and inferential statistics.

Descriptive statistics are used to describe the features of a population, while inferential statistics are used to make predictions about a population. Both of these, when combined, can be used to perform studies and give results based on these studies. The techniques used in both cases vary, and so does the result obtained.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1036731408001732
  2. http://doer.col.org/handle/123456789/4853
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