What are descriptive statistics?

Descriptive statistics is one of the two main branches of statistics.
Descriptive statistics provide a concise summary of data. You can summarize data numerically or graphically. For example, the manager of a fast food restaurant tracks the wait times for customers during the lunch hour for a week. Then, the manager summarizes the data.
Statistic Sample value
Mean 6.2 minutes
Standard deviation 1.5 minutes
Range 3 to 10 minutes
N (sample size) 50
Numeric descriptive statistics

The manager calculates the following numeric descriptive statistics:

Histogram of wait times
Boxplot of wait times
Graphical descriptive statistics

The manager examines the following graphs to visualize the wait times:

The other main branch of statistics is inferential statistics. For more on inferential statistics, go to What are inferential statistics?

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