Inferential and descriptive statistics (March 24, 2005)

Someone asked me whether it was okay to define a correlation coefficient as a descriptive statistic. It depends on whether the correlation is being used to describe a population or if it is intended to test a particular hypothesis. I also warned that these types of labels (inferential, descriptive) aren't really needed most of the time.

After I responded to her, I realized that I didn't have a decent definition of inferential or descriptive statistics, so I add them and found a few examples on the BioMed Central website.

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Descriptive statistics.