Parameter vs. Statistic: Definitions, Examples and Uses

A parameter is a number describing a whole population (e.g., population mean), while a statistic is a number describing a sample (e.g., sample mean). The goal of quantitative research is to understand characteristics of populations by finding parameters.

Statistic vs Parameter & Population vs Sample

What is a statistic?

A statistic is a numerical feature of a population sample. A population used to calculate statistics can be any measurable group, just like parameters, and researchers use statistics to overcome obstacles and prevent them from occurring in the future. Because both statistics and parameters describe a particular group, they appear to be similar. But statistics only portray a sample of a large group, not the entire group.

Example: Eighty percent of American college students say they eat pizza at least once a week. Because the number of college students in the U. S. Researchers calculate this statistic by interviewing a sample of all college students in the U.S., a population that fluctuates constantly and makes up a sizable portion of the population. S. Because of this, their discovery is a statistic rather than a parameter.

What is a parameter?

A parameter is a numerical characteristic of an entire population. Although populations of people are frequently the subject of research, other groups of factors, such as:

Researchers frequently conduct their studies in order to identify variables that could provide them with crucial information about the particular population they are studying. This can aid researchers in their understanding and monitoring of it, allowing them and others working in the field to address particular issues within that population and develop solutions that stop problems from arising in the future. Because small groups are easier to measure due to their size, researchers can more easily define parameters for them.

Example: A pharmaceutical company administered a new vaccine to 1,000 volunteers to gauge the frequency of side effects like body aches. Body aches struck 65% of the volunteers within 48 hours of the vaccine. Because they are aware of the number of participants and those who reported body aches following the study, researchers can verify that this percentage is accurate. Therefore, this percentage qualifies as a parameter.

Parameter vs. statistic

While samples of large groups that change frequently or have immeasurable components give researchers the information they need to find statistics about the group, small groups enable researchers to define precise parameters. Researchers have a parameter if they can establish that the numerical value they calculated represents the entire population covered by their study. The researcher has calculated a statistic if their study reveals information about a sample that represents a larger population and that sample accurately represents the larger population.


Here are some frequently asked questions about parameters and statistics:

What are the types of parameters?

Measures of central tendency and measures of variation are the two main categories of parameters. Researchers can use measures of central tendency to determine how centered values are around a specific scale point. They comprise three components:

Researchers can determine the degree of variation by calculating measures of variation. Measures of variation include:

What are the types of statistics?

Descriptive and inferential statistics are the two types of statistics used in research. Researchers can describe their data based on its characteristics using descriptive statistics. Examples of descriptive statistics include:

Researchers can use inferential statistics to analyze their findings and draw inferences about the population they sampled for their studies. Examples of inferential statistics include:

Why do researchers use statistics?

Researchers can better understand data from sample groups’ relationships to the larger populations they represent by using statistics. Researchers use this data to predict outcomes, provide answers to questions, and advance their research. By providing them with the tools to recognize and fill a need, their findings can assist other professionals in their field in solving issues, making adjustments, and averting difficulties in the future. A manufacturing business, for example, might profit from a study on the preferred packaging by consumers because they can use the results to determine the packaging for their products.

When are parameters used in research?

When every component of the population must provide data values for a study, researchers use parameters. They can then use these parameters as the foundation for additional research to make crucial decisions regarding the best course of action. For instance, when choosing a deductible or premium for the upcoming year, an insurance provider may take into account their overall healthcare spending for policyholders.

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