In statistics, statistical inference is the process of drawing conclusions from data that is subject to random variation, for example, observational errors or sampling variation. More substantially, the terms statistical inference, statistical induction and inferential statistics are used to describe systems of procedures that can be used to draw conclusions from datasets arising from systems affected by random variation, such as observational errors, random sampling, or random experimentation. Initial requirements of such a system of procedures for inference and induction are that the system should produce reasonable answers when applied to well-defined situations and that it should be general enough to be applied across a range of situations.
The outcome of statistical inference may be an answer to the question "what should be done next?", where this might be a decision about making further experiments or surveys, or about drawing a conclusion before implementing some organizational or governmental policy.
Famous quotes containing the word inference:
“I have heard that whoever loves is in no condition old. I have heard that whenever the name of man is spoken, the doctrine of immortality is announced; it cleaves to his constitution. The mode of it baffles our wit, and no whisper comes to us from the other side. But the inference from the working of intellect, hiving knowledge, hiving skill,at the end of life just ready to be born,affirms the inspirations of affection and of the moral sentiment.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)