Understanding and Using Descriptive Statistics

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There is sometimes confusion over the correct statistical techniques that should be used in a particular setting. This paper outlines some methods that can be applied both to display information graphically and to summarise data numerically. The relative strengths and weaknesses of a number of diagrams and summary measures are examined. The particular method(s) that is used depends upon a number of factors. These are, firstly, the level of measurement of the data that have been collected; secondly, the overall distribution of the data being investigated; and, finally, the overall strategy of the plan of investigation. The reasons as to why a particular technique should be used are not always apparent and some methods for making a decision are discussed. Investigators should consider their choice carefully and be in a position to justify that choice.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1998

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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