Descriptive and Inferential Statistics Paper

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Descriptive and Inferential Statistics Paper PSY 315 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…
Though the list is extensive, their purpose in data organizing and summarizing, helps the researcher describe and his or her audience understand the data (Black, 2006, p. 44). Descriptive Statistics The two main branches of the statistical method researchers utilize are descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. The primary function of descriptive statistics is to describe a given set of data in measurable or quantifiable terms. Descriptive statistics summarize the information provided and typically present the data, along with a formal analysis, in a manner that is easily understandable to a general audience (Trochim, 2006). A good example of descriptive statistics would be a college student’s grade point average. This number is a general way to summarize a student’s performance over a wide array of subject matters. As with any statistic, using one number to sum up a series of events or a scientist’s collective research, there runs the risk of distorting that data. Using the college student’s grade point average as an example again, the viewer will not be aware of the level of difficulty of the classes that were taken or if those classes were pertinent to that student’s major course of study. Inferential Statistics With inferential statistics, the researcher typically goes well beyond the provided data to reach a conclusion. A small amount of sample data is taken and used to make a general inference