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 Estimation Estimation is the process by which sample data are used to indicate the value of an unknown quantity in a population. Estimate An estimate is an indication of the value of an unknown quantity based on observed data. Estimator An estimator is any quantity calculated from the sample data which is used to give information about an unknown quantity in the population. For example, the sample mean is an estimator of the population mean. Parameter A parameter is a value, usually unknown (and which therefore has to be estimated), used to represent a certain population characteristic. For example, the population mean is a parameter that is often used to indicate the average value of a quantity. Population A population is any entire collection of people, animals, plants or things from which we may collect data. It is the entire group we are interested in, which we wish to describe or draw conclusions about. Experimental (or Sampling) Unit A unit is a person, animal, plant or thing which is actually studied by a researcher; the basic objects upon which the study or experiment is carried out. For example, a person; a monkey; a sample of soil; a pot of seedlings; a postcode area; a doctor's practice. Sample A sample is a group of units selected from a larger group (the population). By studying the sample it is hoped to draw valid conclusions about the larger group. Statistic A statistic is a quantity that is calculated from a sample of data. It is used to give information about unknown values in the corresponding population. For example, the average of the data in a sample is used to give information about the overall average in the population from which that sample was drawn. Sampling Distribution The sampling distribution describes probabilities associated with a statistic when a random sample is drawn from a population. Statistical Inference Statistical Inference makes use of information from a sample to draw conclusions (inferences) about the population from which the sample was taken. Experiment An experiment is any process or study which results in the collection of data, the outcome of which is unknown. In statistics, the term is usually restricted to situations in which the researcher has control over some of the conditions under which the experiment takes place.