Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
Whether doing original research or conducting literature reviews, one must conclude what a powerful and versatile tool statistics are in the hands of researchers. From basic statistics such as data description, to using complex statistical methods to foresee future patterns or strengthen scientific claims about current climates, the role of statistics in research cannot be taken lightly and is essential in almost any field, especially in psychology. The statistical method is divided into two main branches called descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics is a summary of information and the data presented is easily …show more content…
If a researcher took a small sample group of 10 students from a large class of 400 and compared their grades, a general prediction of the scores of the rest of the class could be formulated. If the average grade for the sample group was a B, the researcher may infer that the rest of the class would also have an average grade of a B.
Relationship between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
When using statistics in research, it is easy to get lost in the numbers and end up confused and with more questions than answers. The best way to sort through the mess and confusion of statistics in data research is to know when to use descriptive statistics or inferential statistics. Of course, these two ideas can become difficult if they are not clearly defined before starting the research. Descriptive statistics is a term the definition of which can be easily confused with inferential because one would think that the former would be the more defined of the two statistics. This is not true; descriptive statistics is a summary of information rather than more definitive and complete. It is an average of the gathered numbers or information. If a more in-depth and complete study of the research is necessary, one would need to use statistics from inferentials. Statistics from inferentials, one is “trying to reach conclusions that extend beyond the immediate data alone” (Trochim, 2006). These two statistical