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Descriptive statistics describe the main features of a collection of data quantitatively.^{[1]} Descriptive statistics are distinguished from inferential statistics (or inductive statistics), in that descriptive statistics aim to summarize a data set quantitatively without employing a probabilistic formulation,^{[2]} rather than use the data to make inferences about the population that the data are thought to represent. Even when a data analysis draws its main conclusions using inferential statistics, descriptive statistics are generally also presented. For example in a paper reporting on a study involving human subjects, there typically appears a table giving the overall sample size, sample sizes in important subgroups (e.g., for each treatment or exposure group), and demographic or clinical characteristics such as the average age, the proportion of subjects of each sex, and the proportion of subjects with related comorbidities.
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Inferential statistics
Inferential statistics tries to make inferences about a population from the sample data. We also use inferential statistics to make judgments of the probability that an observed difference between groups is a dependable one, or that it might have happened by chance in this study. Thus, we use inferential statistics to make inferences from our data to more general conditions; we use descriptive statistics simply to describe what's going on in our data.Template:Http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/statinf.php
Use in statistical analyses
Descriptive statistics provide simple summaries about the sample and the measures. Together with simple graphics analysis, they form the basis of quantitative analysis of data.^{[citation needed]}
Descriptive statistics summarize data. For example, the shooting percentage in basketball is a descriptive statistic that summarizes the performance of a player or a team. This number is the number of shots made divided by the number of shots taken. A player who shoots 33% is making approximately one shot in every three. One making 25% is hitting once in four. The percentage summarizes or describes multiple discrete events. Or, consider the scourge of many students, the grade point average. This single number describes the general performance of a student across the range of their course experiences.^{[citation needed]}
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