Q:

What is the difference between an observation and an inference?

A:

Quick Answer

The primary difference between an observation and an inference is that the former is experienced first-hand while the latter is based on second-hand information. An observation is the gathering of facts through paying close attention to something in order to get information, whereas an inference is the act or process of reaching a conclusion based on facts already known.

Know More
What is the difference between an observation and an inference?
Credit: James Woodson Getty Images

Full Answer

An inference draws conclusions based on evidence gathered through observation. The conclusion is reached logically on the basis of facts known to be true or assumed to be true. An inference can be seen as an interpretation of what is observed.

An inference is an element of reasoning, an act of thinking. Inferences can be accurate or inaccurate, logical or illogical, and justified or unjustified.

Observations are made using the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. Inferences are made when one makes assumptions or guesses about what is observed. For example, if someone leaves a building and observes that the ground is wet, that person might infer that it had rained. That person might also infer that the janitor had just washed the sidewalk.

Inferences are often confused with assumptions. However, assumptions cannot be logically deduced, while inferences are logically deduced from the given information.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference between values and norms?

    A:

    The difference between values and norms is that the former are abstract thoughts while the latter are external actions. In sociology, a culture's values relate to commonly held beliefs about what is considered desirable and proper, while cultural norms are the established behaviors that reflect those values.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between lovastatin and pravastatin?

    A:

    The main difference between lovastatin and pravastatin is that the former is a lipophilic statin whereas the latter is a hydrophilic statin. According to Pharmacy Times, this difference in the nature of statins is important as it influences the type of side effects that patients may experience.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between autotrophic and heterotrophic?

    A:

    The main difference between autotrophic organisms and heterotrophic organisms is that the former produce their own food, while the latter rely on other organisms for food. Autotrophs create nutritional organic substances from simple inorganic sources like carbon dioxide. Heterotrophs cannot produce organic compounds from inorganic substances.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between Aleve and ibuprofen?

    A:

    The major difference between naproxen, the active ingredient in Aleve, and ibuprofen is that the former is not considered safe for use by patients with a history or risk of cardiovascular disease, while the latter is thought to be safer for such patients. Another difference is that naproxen is longer lasting than ibuprofen. Both are types of over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore