Descriptive Statistics

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Descriptive Statistics - short version

Used to summarize or display data so that we can quickly obtain an overview. It represents a characteristic of a large group of observations. (a population or a sample representing a population).

Descriptive Statistics - long version

Descriptive statistics quantitatively describes the main features of a collection of data. Descriptive statistics are distinguished from inferential statistics (or inductive statistics), in that descriptive statistics aim to summarize a data set, rather than use the data to learn about the population that the data are thought to represent. This generally means that descriptive statistics, unlike inferential statistics, are not developed on the basis of probability theory. 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.