What is the difference between observation and inference?
Observations and inferences are common terms used in science and statistics. They play a huge role when making a summary of something. The article provides a detailed insight into the difference between observation and inference with examples.
What Is an Observation?
Observation is the act of monitoring something by the use of the five senses. It is the primary source of collecting data for descriptive research.
Observation is non-scientific but when it comes to observing formulated research then it becomes scientific.
The data collected is further subjected to checks and control for validation to enhance their reliability before using to obtain final results.
What Is an Inference?
Inference refers to the conclusion drawn based on facts and evidence available. It facilitates an element of reasoning and thinking.
Inferences can either be accurate or inaccurate, logical or illogical, and justifiable or unjustifiable. Inferences involve testing hypotheses and estimation in statistics.
Comparison Chart: Observation Vs Inference
|Meaning||It is the act of monitoring something to gain information||It the final conclusion is drawn based on facts|
|Sense||Five senses||Mental processing|
|Interdependence||Help to get inferences||Enhance interpretation of observations|
|Experience||First hand||Second hand|
|Involves||Collection of data||Making decisions on collected data|
Core Differences between Observation and Inference
- Observation is the act of monitoring something to gain information whereas inferences are making conclusion drawn from facts
- The nature of observation is objective while that of inferences is subjective
- Observation involves a collection of data whereas inferences involve taking decisions from collected data.
- Observation is what is perceived while inferences are making assumptions
- Observation is based on first-hand experiences whereas inferences on second-hand experiences
- Observation uses five senses while inferences are the mental process of reasoning and thinking
- Observation helps to reach inferences whereas inferences to make an explanation of the observations.
The core difference between observation and inference is that observation is the act of monitoring something to get information while inference is the act of drawing conclusions based on the facts.