4.2 Discussion

Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

Introduction and Alignment

Descriptive and inferential statistics are a very important part of research.  Descriptive statistics organize numerical data that was obtained from samples.  Any time a sample is used to estimate a population, there is a chance the estimate or sample is inaccurate.  Inferential statistics determine the likelihood that the sample chosen is representative of the given population.


  • Textbook: Reading, Understanding and Applying Nursing Research
  • Video: Frequency Distributions
  • Video: Histograms
  • Video: Basic Concepts of Probability


    1. In your textbook, Reading, Understanding and Applying Nursing Research, read Chapter 12.
    2. View the following videos:
      1. Frequency Distributions
      2. Histograms
      3. Basic Concepts of Probability
    3. Questions:
      1. Define inferential statistics. Provide an example of inferential statistics related to a topic found in your workplace. If you are not employed, use an institution where you have previously worked.
      2. What is probability and how does it relate to inferential statistics?
      3. Define descriptive statistics.
      4. What are measures of central tendency and how to they relate to a distribution?
      5. Define correlation.  Give an example of a positive correlation and a negative correlation.

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