# Descriptive Statistics: Definition & Charts and Graphs

Probability and Statistics > Descriptive Statistics

Statistics can be broken down into two areas: descriptive statistics — which describes and summarizes data, and inferential statistics — which uses statistics to make predictions. Descriptive statistics just describes data. For example, descriptive statistics about a college could include: the average SAT score for incoming freshmen; the median income of parents; racial makeup of the student body. It says nothing about why the data might exist, or what trends you might be able to see from the data.

Descriptive statistics can be further broken down into several areas, like:

The charts, graphs and plots site index is below. For definitions and information on how to find measures of spread and central tendency, see: Basic statistics (which covers the basic terms you’ll find in descriptive statistics like interquartile range, outliers and standard deviation).

## Other

There are literally dozens of charts and graphs you can make from data. which one you choose depends upon what kind of data you have and what you want to display. For example, if you wanted to display relationships between data in categories, you could make a bar graph.

Grouped bar graph. Image: CDC.

A pie chart would show you how categories in your data relate to the whole set.

Pie chart showing water consumption. Image courtesy of EPA.

Scatter plots are a good way to display data points.

Image: Penn State

Less common, but useful in some cases, include dot plots and box and whisker charts:

Simple dot plot showing the types of foods a group of friends eats.

Box and whiskers graph

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you prefer an online interactive environment to learn R and statistics, this free R Tutorial by Datacamp is a great way to get started. If you're are somewhat comfortable with R and are interested in going deeper into Statistics, try this Statistics with R track.