Difference Between Inference and Prediction

Key Difference – Inference vs Prediction 

Although the words inference and prediction are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two words. First let us define the words to comprehend the difference. Inference can be understood as the process of working out from available information. On the other hand, Prediction is stating that an event will happen in the future. This highlights that the key difference between inference and prediction stem from the fact that while prediction is mere foretelling, in inference, it is not so. Inferring denotes coming to conclusions with available evidence. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two words in depth.

What is Inference?

Inference can be understood as the process of working out from available information. In this case, the individual arrives at conclusions based on the information that he has. This highlights that the individual cannot draw conclusions without evidence or based on mere reason.

Let us comprehend this through an example. In a classroom, the teacher asks the student to infer how the plot develops in a particular situation. In such a situation, the students come up with various conclusions. These are not wild guesses but are based on the information available to the students. Now let us move on to the next word.

Difference Between Inference and Prediction

What is Prediction?

Prediction is stating that an event will happen in the future. This is based on past events and experiences or even reasoning. The key difference between inference and prediction is that while in inferring we work with the available information to draw conclusions, in predictions it is not so. It is similar to foretelling as the individual may not possess any evidence.

We can even comprehend this through an example. Let us take a similar example from a classroom setting. A teacher asks the students to look at a comprehension passage without reading. The teacher asks the students only to read the heading and predict what the passage is about. In such a situation, the children are merely predicting or foretelling, without proper information. This is the key difference between inference and prediction. This difference can be summarized as follows.

 Inference vs Prediction

What is the Difference Between Inference and Prediction?

Definitions of Inference and Prediction:

Inference: Inference can be understood as the process of working out from available information.

Prediction: Prediction is stating that an event will happen in the future.

Characteristics of Inference and Prediction:

Evidence:

Inference: Inferring is through evidence.

Prediction: When predicting, evidence may or may not be used.

Conclusion:

Inference: In inference, conclusions are based on the information.

Prediction: In prediction it is based on past events, experience, and reasoning.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Silent Reading time in a Lao school” by BigBrotherMouse – Own work. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

2. “Lady Bird Johnson Visiting a Classroom for Project Head Start 1966” by White House Photograph Office, Robert L. Knudsen [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons