According to San Jose State University, statistics helps researchers make inferences about data. Instead of just using raw data to explain observations, researchers use various statistical analyses to derive predictions and trends from large data sets. Scientists and professionals use statistics in a variety of disciplines and fields, including biological sciences, political science and engineering.
Researchers and professionals use statistics for a variety of information-gathering needs. Statistics is a mathematical method that usually involves a sample of a larger population. Researchers collect data from the sample and decide whether to use descriptive or inferential statistics, depending upon the research question and methodology of the study. Descriptive statistics tell researchers and professionals about the raw scores that are present in the data, such as the percentage of people that agree with a public policy or an average test score. Inferential statistics make predictions about a data set. It infers the relationship between two or more variables and predicts the outcome of the impact of one variable upon another variable.
There are various statistical methods to use within descriptive and inferential statistics to define accurately the relationships within a data set. The different results from the methods allow the predictions and accurate portrayals of a sample that various fields require to complete studies.