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Parameter and Statistics – A Comparison Based Guide

Published by at August 31st, 2021 , Revised On September 20, 2023

We deal with these two terms in statistics a lot and often have difficulty differentiating them. If you are one of those people, you have come to the perfect place. This guide is on statistics vs. parameters is the perfect rejoinder to all your sceptical thoughts.

What are Parameter and Statistics in Research?

A parameter in statistics implies a summary description of the characteristic of an entire population based on all the elements within it. For instance, all the children in one city, all female workers in a country, all the items in grocery stores globally, and so on.

Suppose you ask the students in a class what kind of lunch they prefer. Half of them might say fries, and half would say a burger or sandwich. Now the parameter here would be 50%. But can you count how many children in the whole world like fries or sandwiches? You sure cannot do that. If it is impossible to count or measure a value in such cases, you take a sample and assess the entire population based on it. So the sample here (children in the class) represents the entire population (children in the world).

On the other hand, statistics is a measure of a characteristic of a fraction or sample of the population under study. It is basically a part or portion of a population. While the parameter is drawn from the measurements of units in the entire population, a sample is drawn from the measurement of elements from the sample.

For instance, if you are to find out the mean income of all the subscribers of a YouTube channel-a parameter of a population. You might simply draw some 150 subscribers and determine their mean income (a statistic). You would conclude that the average income of the entire population is the same value as the sample.

Here are a few more keynotes to make the differentiation between statistics and parameters:

Statistics Parameters
Statistics is a variable and known number A parameter is fixed and unknown
statistics describe a portion of the population The parameter describes the whole population
Statistics is used to get the actual outcome with respect to a certain characteristic The parameter is used to get the most possible estimated outcome
Statistics are not appropriate if the data is huge The parameter is great for large-scale data
Statistics is time-consuming parameter comparatively can be quick
statistics is less dependable on the survey The parameter is more reliable and dependable on the survey
Statistic is pricy The parameter does not need harsh money

Below is a list of examples of both for further clarification.

Examples of Parameters:

  • The median income of all the females in Atlanta
  • Standard deviation of all the rice farms in the city
  • Proportion of all the schools in the world

Examples of Statistics:

  • The median income of 1050 females in Georgia
  • Standard deviation of one rice farm in the city
  • The proportion of all the schools in one region

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Statistical Notation of Parameter and Statistics

Statistics Parameter
x̄ = Sample Mean μ = Population Mean
s = Sample Standard Deviation σ = Population Standard Deviation
p̂ = Sample Proportion P = Population Proportion
x = Data Elements X = Data Elements.
n = Size of sample N = Size of Population
r = Correlation coefficient ρ = Correlation coefficient

Interpreting Study Results with Statistics and Parameters

When assessing the outcomes of research or study, you sure can be confident that parameters influence factors relevant to every person, object, and circumstance within a given population.

However, with statistics, it is imperative to keep in mind how the sample was collected in the first place. You must see if the sample is an accurate representation of the entire population. Only then would you be able to generalize conclusions for the whole population. A random sample here is most probably a good representative of a population.

Another thing to take into consideration while interpreting data is understanding what the numbers represent instead of just knowing what numerical calculations you have at hand. If the data is parameters, you must ensure that they are descriptive of the given population.  And, if the data you are provided with is statistics, you must pay attention more than required and take as much time as you need because this is the tricky one.

In the meantime, if you have any confusion or queries, please let us know by commenting below

FAQs About Parameters and Statistics

A parameter is a number that describes the whole population. For example, all the boys in the world.

A statistic is a number that describes a sample from a population under study.

Sample are used to make inferences or conclusions about different populations. Sample are a lot easier to collect information/data because they are manageable and cost effective.

The sign μ refers to a population mean while σ refers to the standard deviation of a population.

s2 is used for representing sample variance and X ~ is used to show the distribution of random variable X

About Owen Ingram

Avatar for Owen IngramIngram is a dissertation specialist. He has a master's degree in data sciences. His research work aims to compare the various types of research methods used among academicians and researchers.