September 25, 2022
What Is Extrapolation In Statistics? Importance and Limitations of Extrapolation in Research


Extrapolation in statistics refers to making forecasts about the continuation of a trend in future or a phenomenon based on historical data. Extrapolation in research is crucial for forecasting future trends. Its usage is most common in time series data analysis. Cross-sectional and mixed panel data uses regression analysis for extrapolation. Extrapolation is useful when the researcher is not expecting any major changes.

The assumption behind this is that the causal factors will remain constant. Extrapolation assumes that the historical trends will project into the future. It leads to prediction errors since causal factors emerge over time and they disrupt the trending projection. Extrapolation in research has several advantages and disadvantages. So, it is essential to understand its importance and limitations. This article will tell you about the importance and limitations of extrapolation in research.  

What is extrapolation in statistics?

Extrapolation is a statistical technique. Researchers forecast a variable’s value or condition based on the present condition. The researcher examines a variable’s current state and uses this knowledge to infer a reasonable estimate for the future. Most of researchers hire a good PhD dissertation writing services UK for this purpose.

Extrapolation in research is the prediction of a variable beyond the available data. Researchers mostly use a variable’s historical data to make predictions about the future. For example, when a researcher projects the future economic growth using the past economic data, the researcher uses statistical extrapolation.

Similarly, predicting the future price movements of automobiles using the price changes of the last five years refers to extrapolation in research. Another good example of understanding extrapolation in statistics is the application of extrapolation for predicting the future growth of the population. Governments use past census data and, through statistical extrapolation, projects the future growth of the population.

What are the different types of statistical extrapolation?

Statistical extrapolation in research has the following three types:

  1. Linear Extrapolation

Linear extrapolation in research refers to estimating a value reasonably close to the data set. Researchers use linear equations to plot the data set’s values on a graph. They sequence the values in a linear order and use them to forecast the data points in the near future. It involves drawing a tangent line extending from the last value and projecting beyond its limits. 

  • Importance of linear extrapolation

Linear extrapolation in research is useful for making predictions about the immediate future and projecting the values to forecast the long-term trends. Researchers can extrapolate the values that have a relatively higher or lower value than the data set. Researchers can also use extrapolation to fill the gaps in the data points of data gathered through surveys. 

  1. Conic Extrapolation

Conic extrapolation in research refers to using conic sections to make predictions about the data variables. Researchers use conic sections to find the unknown data. Conic sections refer to using a circle or an ellipse to project the data points. 

  1. Polynomial extrapolation 

Polynomial extrapolation in research uses polynomial shapes for estimating or predicting the future values of a variable from a given data set. 

What is the importance of extrapolation in research?

Extrapolation in research is a simple, reliable, and inexpensive method for forecasting future trends. Its usage is most common in those studies that aim to predict future behaviours and processes. For example, the financial sector requires forecasting and predicting future price movements of stocks and commodities. 

Similarly, researchers in economics want to assess future economic conditions by assessing past data. Statistical extrapolation helps them predict the future conditions of the economy. Using the available census data, governments use statistical extrapolation to determine future trends in population growth. Businesses also use statistical extrapolation to identify the seasonal trends and whether they will continue or fade. Similarly, they also use statistical exploration for making predictions about inventory and production based on past consumer trends. It helps the businesses strategize their operational planning in the short term. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of statistical extrapolation in research?

Advantages of Statistical Extrapolation

  • Extrapolation is a simple and unique method for making predictions, and it is inexpensive. 
  • Extrapolation can help human resource management determine the appropriate future salaries for the staff. Human resource management can review employees’ current performance and determine an increase or decrease in compensation based on available data. 
  • Statistical extrapolation helps businesses decipher the trending patterns in the market and forecast future outcomes based on the current data. 
  • Researchers can even make forecasts using small data sets. It is unnecessary to have large data sets at your disposal for statistical extrapolation. 

Disadvantages of Extrapolation

  • Extrapolation assumes that the causal factors will remain constant and will not impact the continuing trends. 
  • It does not consider the fluctuations that occur over time and leads to invalid forecasting. 
  • Statistical extrapolation relies on quantitative values and does not pay heed to the qualitative values that can bring about major changes in the values of the data set.
  • Extrapolation is only appealing if the historical values remain constant. Fluctuations in data set values lead to discontinuities and errors.

How to use extrapolation in research effectively?

The effective usage of statistical extrapolation in research requires a proper understanding of the following parameters:

  • Utilise all pertinent information while choosing and compiling your data, and make sure to account for significant historical occurrences.
  • Only make seasonal adjustments if expected impacts are present and if there is solid data to support the adjustment.
  • Use straightforward, functional forms when extrapolating. If there are modest measurement mistakes, consistent sequences, and limited forecast ranges, concentrate on the most recent data. Be cautious when predicting trends where there is ambiguity. Make changes in the extrapolation models as you gather new data. 
  • Create empirical projections and forecast ranges to quantify uncertainty.


Statistical extrapolation in research helps forecast values beyond the available data set. It has crucial importance in business research and financial markets. Economists also use statistical extrapolation for predicting the future trends and patterns in the economy. Governments use statistical extrapolation for predicting the population growth and trends using the census data.