Up to this point in the text we have discussed descriptive statistics , outlining the central tendencies, the variability, and the relationships in data that are readily to hand. It is time now to move from description to an examination of statistical techniques that enable us to go from known to unknown data, that is, to make inferences about wider populations from which our ‘known’ data are drawn. These techniques are called inferential statistics. Inferential statistics deal with two different types of problems, the first to do with making estimates, the second with testing hypotheses. Both tasks involve making inferences about population parameters from sample measures. It is to samples and to sampling methods that we first turn our attention. We said earlier that it is often impossible to obtain measures of characteristics of a total population. Population characteristics have to be inferred from measures taken from samples. Statistics are ...

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