# Statistical inference

**Statistical inference** is the process of using data analysis to infer properties of an underlying distribution of probability.[1] **Inferential statistical analysis** infers properties of a population, for example by **testing hypotheses** and deriving estimates. It is assumed that the observed data set is sampled from a larger population.

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**Inferential statistics** can be contrasted with descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics is solely concerned with properties of the observed data, and it does not rest on the assumption that the data come from a larger population. In machine learning, the term *inference* is sometimes used instead to mean "make a prediction, by evaluating an already trained model";[2] in this context inferring properties of the model is referred to as *training* or *learning* (rather than *inference*), and using a model for prediction is referred to as *inference* (instead of *prediction*); see also predictive inference.