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The simplest answer is that parametric statistics are based on numerical data from which descriptive statistics can be calculated, while non-parametric statistics are based on categorical data.

Takes two example questions: 1) Do men live longer than women, and 2), are men or women more likely to be statisticians. In the first example, you can calculate the average life span of both men and women and then compare the two averages. This is a parametric test. But in the second, you cannot calculate an average between "man" and "woman" or between "statistician" or "non-statistician." As there is no numerical data to work with, this would be a non-parametric test.

The difference is vitally important. Because inferential statistics require numerical data, it is possible to estimate how accurate a parametric test on a sample is compared to the relevant population. However, it is not possible to make this estimation with non-parametric statistics. So while non-parametric tests are still used in many studies, they are often regarded as less conclusive than parametric statistics.

However, the ability to generalize sample results to a population is based on more than just inferential statistics. With careful adherence to accepted random sampling, sample size, and data collection conventions, non-parametric results can still be generalizable. It is just that the accuracy of that generalization can not be statistically verified.

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Q: Distinguish between parameteric statistics and non - parameteric statistics?

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