Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

A parameter is a descriptive summary of a characteristic of set of data or summary statistic of the relationship between two sets of data.

explanatory context

Measures of central tendency (averages), measures of dispersion and correlation coefficients are all parameters.

In some usages parameter is restricted to population summary measures and the term statistic (or sampling statistic) is used for the same kinds of measures of samples. Often, however, parameter is used to refer to any summary measure of a set of data whether it is a sample or a population measure.


Statistical inference is concerned with estimating population parameters from sample statistics.

analytical review

Colorado State University (1993–2013) defines parameter as:

A coefficient or value for the population that corresponds to a particular statistic from a sample and is often inferred from the sample.

associated issues


related areas

See also




Colorado State University, 1993–2013, Glossary of Key Terms available at, accessed 16 March 2013, still available 1 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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