Foundations of inference

Among the key concepts in statistics is making conclusions about a population using information in a sample; the process is called statistical inference. By using computational methods as well as well-developed mathematical theory, we can understand how one dataset differs from a different dataset — even when the two datasets have been collected under identical settings. In this part, we will walk through the key concepts and terms which will be applied more explicitly in later chapters.

Although often computational and mathematical methods are both appropriate (and give similar results), your study of both approaches should convince you that (1) there is almost never a single “correct” approach, and (2) there are different ways to quantify the variability seen from dataset to dataset.