KEY FEATURES: Introduces students to developing research questions and shows their importance in driving research design. Rarely taught topics, such as how to enter and clean data, offer students information missed in both research methods and statistics courses. Shows how to write up survey results for academic, business and nonprofit reports to alleviate the confusion students feel about how to write up findings. Rigorous treatment of sampling focuses on many sampling issues from probability theory to weighting. Offers the process of actually conducting a survey with advice on administering surveys, incentives, and improving response rates.

What Are Descriptive Statistics?

Erin Ruel

Descriptive statistics are a set of methods used to analyze data to understand and describe the sample. Univariate descriptive statistics describe each variable separately. In general, the best way to describe the data is to estimate the central tendency of a variable and a measure of dispersion (variation or standard deviation) around that central tendency—in other words, figuring out what is the typical response and how much respondents vary around that typical response. This is a way of summarizing the vast amount of information about each variable.

The measure of central tendency and dispersion will vary according to how each variable is measured. Table 73.1 lists the measures and techniques used for each variable type. For categorical and ordinal variables, ...

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