Describing collections involves tabulating, depicting and describing collections of data. These data may be quantitative such as measures of height, intelligence or grade level------variables that are characterized by an underlying continuum---or the data may represent qualitative variables, such as sex, college major or personality type. Large masses of data must generally undergo a process of summarization or reduction before they are comprehensible. Descriptive statistics is a tool for describing or summarizing or reducing to comprehensible form the properties of an otherwise unwieldy mass of data.
Inferential statistics is a formalized body of methods for solving another class of problems that present great of problems characteristically involves attempts to make predictions using a sample of observations. For example, a school superintendent wishes to determine the proportion of children in a large school system who come to school without breakfast, have been vaccinated for flu, or whatever. Having a little knowledge of statistics, the superintendent would know that it is unnecessary and inefficient to question each child: the proportion for the sample of as few as 100 children. Thus , the purpose of inferential statistics is to predict or estimate characteristics o