Skip to main content
Statistics LibreTexts

6: Inference for Categorical Data

Chapter 6 introduces inference in the setting of categorical data. We use these methods to answer questions like the following:

  • What proportion of the American public approves of the job the Supreme Court is doing?
  • The Pew Research Center conducted a poll about support for the 2010 health care law, and they used two forms of the survey question. Each respondent was randomly given one of the two questions. What is the difference in the support for respondents under the two question orderings?

We will find that the methods we learned in previous chapters are very useful in these settings. For example, sample proportions are well characterized by a nearly normal distribution when certain conditions are satisfied, making it possible to employ the usual confidence interval and hypothesis testing tools. In other instances, such as those with contingency tables or when sample size conditions are not met, we will use a different distribution, though the core ideas remain the same.


  • David M Diez (Google/YouTube)
  • Christopher D Barr (Harvard School of Public Health)
  • Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel (Duke University)