A distribution refers to the way in which researchers organize sets of scores for interpretation. The term also refers to the underlying probabilities associated with each possible score in a real or theoretical population. Generally, researchers plot sets of scores using a curve that allows for a visual representation. Displaying data in this way allows researchers to study trends among scores. There are three common approaches to graphing distributions: histograms, frequency polygons, and ogives. Researchers begin with a set of raw data and ask questions that allow them to characterize the data by a specific distribution. There are also a variety of statistical distributions, each with its unique set of properties.

Distributions are most often characterized by whether the data are discrete or continuous in nature. ...

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