# Thread: What is the purpose of inferential statistical tests when you already have parameters

1. ## What is the purpose of inferential statistical tests when you already have parameters

Hello,

I'm an undergraduate political science student, and I am working on my senior thesis. I've collected data on a small population (N = 129). I have been advised to use inferential statistical tests to compare means, despite the fact that I am dealing with parameters rather than statistics. Is there any reason to use inferential statistical tests when you already have a population?

2. ## Re: What is the purpose of inferential statistical tests when you already have parame

Hi, inferential statistics only means that you try to go beyond your data in order to say something about the whole population and not only about your sample. I guess you are not only intersted in these 129 people but they are a (random) sample of a population in which you are interested. Thus, you will not only present means of your sample but you will probably present confidence intervals of these means which tell you something about the value of the population mean, not only the sample mean.

3. ## Re: What is the purpose of inferential statistical tests when you already have parame

To piggyback on mmercker, if you were to generalize your results, one would imagine some sampling variation between taken samples, and this will be spoken for in the confidence underlying your presented results.

If for some reason these 129 people are the total existing population in the world and you do not wish to make any generalization, then inferential statistics are moot.

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