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Descriptive Statistics

  • By: Kentaro Kato & William M. Bart
  • In: Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology
  • Edited by: Neil J. Salkind
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), Educational Psychology, School Psychology

Descriptive statistics constitute a branch of statistics that provides a variety of techniques used to present a quantitative summary of a given set of data. In contrast to descriptive statistics are inferential statistics, which provide ways to make inferences about the population from which the data were sampled.

When summarizing data on a single variable is of interest, there are at least two major characteristics to be considered: central tendency and dispersion. These characteristics represent some aspects of the distribution of the data. The central tendency denotes where the center of the data distribution is located. The mean, the median, and the mode are commonly used to describe the central tendency. The mean is the average of all data values, that is, the sum of ...

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