# What are Descriptive Statistics? Essay

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WHAT ARE DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS? Before we continue the discussion about the basic descriptive data elements that are needed to answer the question I previously posed, it is important to understand what we mean by descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics describe the features of the data collected. In other words, descriptive statistics describe “what” the data looks like, but it does not tell you why or how data elements interact or influence one another. Descriptive statistics provide a defender with summaries about the data collected and these summaries may be either quantitative or visual. Quantitative descriptive statistics are the sum of data points that are usually reported as total numbers or averages in a report. For…show more content…
A defender can compile these numbers into simple graphics (i.e. pie charts, bar charts, diagrams), to look at a picture that can graphically describe the data collected. Inferential statistics are used to make predictions about the interaction (or correlation) between different variables. With inferential statistics, you use statistical formulas to reach conclusions or make predictions that extend beyond describing the total number variables found in the data that you collect. For example, a defender can use inferential statistics to infer that the early appointment of counsel improves dispositional outcomes for persons charged with the murder in the first degree. You can use inferential statistics to explain an observed difference between certain types of cases and say that the change (or improved outcome) is dependent on certain action and that the change in that outcome did not happen by chance. By using inferential statistical analysis you can say that an independent variable (a variable that stands alone and is not changed by another variable) is causing a reaction in a dependent variable, and if you consistently observe specific reaction then we can we say with certainty that the independent variable will consistently cause the same reaction (that it is statistically significant) on the dependent variable. Inferential statistics are used to make predictions from the data that allow you make generalizations about a specific set of circumstances. The