906 words - 4 pages

Descriptive and Inferential statistics descriptive and Inferential statistics statistics, a branch of mathematics that focuses on the organization, analysis, and interpretation of a group of numbers (Aron, Aron, and Coups, 2006, p.2), play a very influential role in the field of psychology. Psychologists use descriptive statistics to summarize and describe a group of numbers from a research study. Inferential statistics are used to draw educational conclusions and inferences based on numbers from research, but psychologists take the information further than the numbers (Aron, Aron, and Coups, 2006). There are many functions of statistics and examples between the two types are also abundant.

Functions of StatisticsWhat is the function of statistics? In order to answer this question, a definite definition must be specified. After reviewing many sources, a compilation of many different definitions has been put together. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, statistics is a numerical value that characterizes information from which it was taken (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). At Dictionary.com statistics is 搕he science that deals with the collection, classification, analysis, and interpretation of numerical facts or data, and that by use of mathematical theories of probability, imposes order and regularity on aggregates of more or less disparate elements (Random House, 2006). So, in language that anyone could understand statistics is a code of numbers, which tells significant information that a person has questions or concerns about. The process is simple. After the researcher retrieves information based on a hypothesis, or simply out of curiosity, he uses mathematical equations to transform the information into a set of numbers. After the numbers are presented, several kinds of information can be extracted, depending on what is needed.

Defining Descriptive and Inferential StatisticsDescriptive statistics consolidates detailed data into a simplified format for easy interpretation. This type of statistics takes quantitative details and summarizes the data to aid in grasping what is going on with the details data in a manageable format. (Trochim, 2006) For example, a team抯 field goal percentage is useful; team A shot 60% from the field and team B shot 46% in the same game. Based on descriptive statistics, the data of two point and three point shots (excluding free throws) attempted and made by each team from a particular game is summarized and results in the field goal percentage. Descriptive statistics can also decipher shots made from shots attempted, aiding in determining which team won the game. Team A, with 60% from the field, did not necessarily win. Team B may have a field goal percentage of 46%, however, if they made 75% of their shots versus team A making 15% of their shots then...

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