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  Drawing a conclusion from incomplete evidence. The body of procedures known as inferential statistics has been developed as a means for establishing the degree of certainty with which a statement about a population can be made when data are only available from sampling that population. The degree of certainty is expressed in probabilistic terms — e.g. you can be 95 per cent certain that what has been observed in the sample will hold for the population because under the theory of sampling that conclusion would be drawn from similar analyses of at least 95 out of every 100 samples (see confirmatory data analysis; parametric statistics). (RJJ)  



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