In statistics, as opposed to its general use in mathematics, a **parameter** is any measured quantity of a statistical population that summarises or describes an aspect of the population, such as a mean or a standard deviation. If a population exactly follows a known and defined distribution, for example the normal distribution, then a small set of parameters can be measured which completely describes the population, and can be considered to define a probability distribution for the purposes of extracting samples from this population.

A parameter is to a population as a statistic is to a sample; that is to say, a parameter describes the * true value* calculated from the full population, whereas a statistic is an estimated measurement of the parameter based on a subsample. Thus a "statistical parameter" can be more specifically referred to as a

**population parameter**.[1][2]