What is Statistical inference?
First of all, I would like to highlight its meaning as mentioned in ‘Oxford Dictionary of Statistics’ — Statistical inference is the process of deducing properties of an underlying distribution by analysis of data.
McGraw-Hill Science & Technology Dictionary says about Statistical inference — The process of reaching conclusions concerning a population upon the basis of random samplings.
Barron’s Business Dictionary says Statistical inference is the process of using observations of a sample to estimate the properties of the population.
Inferential statistical analysis infers properties about a population: this includes testing hypotheses and deriving estimates. The population is assumed to be larger than the observed data set; in other words, the observed data is assumed to be sampled from a larger population.
Inferential statistics can be contrasted with descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics is solely concerned with properties of the observed data, and does not assume that the data came from a larger population.