The Logic of Statistical Inference: Making Statements About Populations from Sample Statistics

  • David Weisburd
  • Chester Britt


In this chapter, we look at an important dilemma that researchers face in conducting criminal justice research. Although they seek to make statements about populations, generally they collect data on samples drawn from such populations. Statistical inference provides a solution to this dilemma: it allows the researcher to make statements, or inferences, about the characteristics of a population from data collected from a sample drawn from the population. We begin our discussion of statistical inference by explaining the dilemma researchers face in making statements about populations from samples. We then examine the logic of statistical inference and the statistical risks associated with using this logic. You will be introduced to how null and research hypotheses are set up, how risks of error are assessed, and how levels of statistical significance are used to limit this error.


Null Hypothesis Criminal Justice Sample Statistic Statistical Inference Grade Point Average 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Weisburd
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chester Britt
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Law Institute of CriminologyHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Criminology, Law and SocietyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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