Difference Between Inference and Observation

Main Difference

The main difference between inference and observation is that inference is the method that includes the brain as an observer, whereas observation is a method which includes all the five senses of a human.

Inference vs. Observation

The inference is based on evidence and reasoning, while observation is based on paying close attention to something to gain information. Inference is usually a mental process, whereas observation has all five senses. Inference is the explanation of the observations or the interpretation; on the other hand, observation assists to reach an inference. Inference may be based on second-hand experience; on the contrary, observation is the first-hand experience. The nature of inference is subjective; on the contrary, the nature of observation is objective. Inference is a supposition or explanation of the observes of someone; conversely, observation is what one perceives. Inference involves deciding the collected information; on the flip side, observation is the collection of information and knowledge without questioning respondents. Inference logically assuming a conclusion by the reasoning, whereas observation is attentively checking of the subject under study.

Comparison Chart

InferenceObservation
The inference is generally a conclusion reached based on reasoning and evidence.Observation is the general action of giving close consideration to something to gain some knowledge and information.
Senses
Usually a mental processIncludes all the five senses
Interdependence
The description of the observations or the interpretationAssist in reaching an inference
Experience
May be based on second-hand experienceThe first-hand experience
Based On
Based on evidence and reasoningBased on paying close attention to something to gain information
Nature
SubjectiveObjective
What is it?
An assumption or explanation of what one has perceivedWhat one perceives only
Involves
Involve deciding the collected informationThe collection of information and knowledge without questioning respondents
Implies
Logically assuming a conclusion by the reasoningAttentively checking of the subject under study

What is Inference?

The inference is the conclusion of something that drawn on the base of observations. Inference can be assumed as a logical explanation or interpretation of someone’s observation. Inference can be drawn rationally based on observations and facts. Inference is normally considered a portion of reasoning which could be inaccurate or accurate, justified or unjustified, logical or illogical sometimes. For instance, is someone observe a rainbow in the sky then reach the inference that it’s going to rain soon. Same as, imagine a situation in which someone is talking to a friend about something, and that person can observe the change in his tone, mood, and body language and can interfere that what his friend is feeling. Inference and observation are interconnected and will not stand alone. Inference always made from the evidence, facts, and observations that are collected by someone else. Though the inference is not 100% accurate every time when someone observes, sometimes, someone understands from the other actions that may be inaccurate or illogical. E.g. someone might observe burning from the neighbor’s house and rapidly conclude that the house is on fire, but in actuality, the burn is might due to huge born fire his neighbor has made in his graveyard. But inference can also be accurate, and its good example is a mirage. In statistics, inference includes two things, and that is hypothesis testing and estimation. The nature of inference is subjective and may be based on second-hand experience. Inference is usually a mental process that involves the brain.

What is Observation?

Observation is the procedure of giving close consideration to someone or something to gain some information and knowledge about that specific person or thing. Observation is made by using all the five senses that a human being has: the sense of smell, sense of sight, sense of hearing, sense of touch, sense of taste. If we observe the change in seasons, we might observe how the smells change, how leaves are changing their colors, and how there is a difference in temperature. All these observations conclude that summer is coming. Nature of observation is objective, and observation is the first-hand experience. Observation is the collection of information and knowledge without questioning respondents, and it is attentively checking of the subject under study. It means that the observer does not question the people that are being observed; rather the observer observes directly to obtain and assure the accurate observation.

Additionally, observation is based on current events, and it is not influenced by past or future attitudes or intentions. It can be disguised or undisguised, structured or unstructured and may be conducted in a natural or contrived environment. According to some scientific observations, there are present two main types of observation: qualitative observation and quantitative observation.

Types of Observation

  • Qualitative Observation: This observation describes the quality of an object, shape, color, size, etc.
  • Quantitative Observation: This observation consists of information about height, weight, numbers, etc.

Key Differences

  1. The inference is generally a method which is based on evidence and reasoning, while observation is the process based on paying close attention to something to gain knowledge and information.
  2. The inference is usually a mental process by using the brain, whereas observation includes all the five senses.
  3. The inference is the explanation or justification of the observations or the interpretation; on the other hand, observation assists to reach an inference.
  4. The inference may be based on second-hand experience; on the contrary, observation is the first-hand experience.
  5. The nature of inference is subjective; on the contrary, the nature of observation is objective.
  6. The inference is an assumption or explanation of what one has supposed; conversely, observation is what one perceives.
  7. Inference involves deciding the collected information; on the flip side, observation is the collection of information and knowledge without questioning defendants.
  8. Inference logically pretentious a conclusion by the reasoning, whereas observation is attentively checking of the subject under study.

Conclusion

Above discussion concludes that the inference is the method that involves the brain and based on second-hand experience, whereas observation is a process which includes all the five senses and includes the first-hand experience.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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