Calculating Descriptive Statistic

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Calculating Descriptive Statistic essay assignment

There are two major classes of statistics: descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics are computed to reveal characteristics of the sample data set and to describe study variables. Inferential statistics are computed to gain information about effects and associations in the population being studied. For some types of studies, descriptive statistics will be the only approach to analysis of the data. For other studies, descriptive statistics are the first step in the data analysis process, to be followed by inferential statistics. For all studies that involve numerical data, descriptive statistics are crucial in understanding the fundamental properties of the variables being studied. Exercise 27 focuses only on descriptive statistics and will illustrate the most common descriptive statistics computed in nursing research and provide examples using actual clinical data from empirical publications.

Calculating Descriptive Statistic essay assignment

Measures of Central Tendency

A measure of central tendency is a statistic that represents the center or middle of a frequency distribution. The three measures of central tendency commonly used in nursing research are the mode, median (MD), and mean (). The mean is the arithmetic average of all of a variable’s values. The median is the exact middle value (or the average of the middle two values if there is an even number of observations). The mode is the most commonly occurring value or values (see Exercise 8).

The following data have been collected from veterans with rheumatoid arthritis (Tran, Hooker, Cipher, & Reimold, 2009). The values in Table 27-1 were extracted from a larger sample of veterans who had a history of biologic medication use (e.g., infliximab [Remicade], etanercept [Enbrel]). Table 27-1 contains data collected from 10 veterans who had stopped taking biologic medications, and the variable represents the number of years that each veteran had taken the medication before stopping.

TABLE 27-1


Duration of Biologic Use (years)











Because the number of study subjects represented below is 10, the correct statistical notation to reflect that number is:

Note that the n is lowercase, because we are referring to a sample of veterans. If the data being presented represented the entire population of veterans, the correct notation is the uppercase N. Because most nursing research is conducted using samples, not populations, all formulas in the subsequent exercises will incorporate the sample notation,

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