# Writing about descriptive statistics in research

This handout explains how to write with statistics including quick tips, writing descriptive statistics, writing inferential statistics, and using visuals with statistics. The system you use depends on how complicated it is to summarize the result.

This organization of a data set is often referred to as a distribution. That is, 16 divided by 4 is 4.

Therefore, when reporting the statistical outcomes relevant to your study, subordinate them to the actual biological results.

Likewise, a median score may not be very informative either, if you are interested in what score is most likely. For example, if you wanted to predict the score of the next football game, you may want to know what the most common score is for the visiting team, but having an average score of In addition, you should present one form of variability, usually the standard deviation.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. Because the two data sets above have the same mean and median, but different standard deviation, we know that they also have different distributions.

Standard Deviation The standard deviation is a measure of variability it is not a measure of central tendency. Frequency data should be summarized in the text with appropriate measures such as percents, proportions, or ratios. Comparing groups t-tests, ANOVA, etc Comparison of the means of 2 or more groups is usually depicted in a bar graph of the means and associated error bars.

Statisticians still debate how to properly calculate a median when there is an even number of values, but for most purposes, it is appropriate to simply take the mean of the two middle values. The median is less influenced by extreme scores than the mean.

The Median The median is simply the middle value of a data set. Always report the mean average value along with a measure of variablility standard deviation s or standard error of the mean. Understanding the distribution of a data set helps us understand how the data behave. For example, the following data set has a mean of 4: When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Courtesy of Shelley Ball For three or more groups there are two systems typically used: Statistics should be used to substantiate your findings and help you to say objectively when you have significant results. For two groups, the larger mean may have asterisks centered over the error bar to indicate the relative level of the p-value.

Several common methods for summarizing statistical outcomes are shown below. If a regression is done, the best-fit line should be plotted and the equation of the line also provided in the body of the graph.

In all cases, the p-value should be reported as well in the figure legend The asterisk may also be used with tabular results as shown below. The line spanning two adjacent bars indicates that they are not significantly different based on a multiple comparisons testand because the line does not include the pH 2 mean, it indicates that the pH 2 mean is significantly different from both the pH 5.

If the summary statistics are presented in graphical form a Figureyou can simply report the result in the text without verbalizing the summary values: Note that information about how to interpret the coding system line or letters is included in the figure legend.

The Mean The mean is the most common form of central tendency, and is what most people usually are referring to when the say average.Descriptive Analysis: The method to numerically describe the features of a set of data is called descriptive statistics.

It is, in other words, a summary of the data collected. It is widely used for descriptive analysis of data, along with graphic statistics. Descriptive statistics implies a simple quantitative summary of a data set that has been collected. It helps us understand the experiment or data set in detail and tells us everything we need to put the data in perspective.

Generally, when writing descriptive statistics, you want to present at least one form of central tendency (or average), that is, either the mean, median, or mode. In addition, you should present one form of variability, usually the standard deviation.

Some examples of descriptive research include case studies and preliminary observation of a group. Case studies are examples of a relevant event that can be analyzed to learn about a specific group or topic.

Observation is an essential part of descriptive research, and is the main way of gathering. Descriptive and Inferential Statistics. When analysing data, such as the marks achieved by students for a piece of coursework, it is possible to use both descriptive and inferential statistics in your analysis of their marks.

The results of your statistical analyses help you to understand the outcome of your study, e.g., whether or not some variable has an effect, whether variables are related, whether differences among groups of observations are the same or different, etc.

Statistics are tools of science, not an end unto themselves. Statistics should be used to substantiate .

Writing about descriptive statistics in research
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