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Average: Same as the mean. Add up all the values and divide by the number of values. Categorical variable: A variable whose values can be sorted into categories. Ex: gender, fur color Chi-square test: A statistical test used with categorical or nominal variables to tell whether their distribution is different than expected, i.e., there is something going on that is more than chance. Continuous data: Data that can be measured along a continuum of many values. This is distinct from discrete data, which is divided into categories. Ex: weight, height, age Correlation: A statistical test that describes the strength of a linear relationship between the two variables. Correlation does not necessarily mean there is a causal relationship. Dependent variable: A variable which is dependent on the levels of other variables for its value. Dependent variables are measured but not manipulated. Descriptive statistics: Statistics that describe the data. This includes the mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and variability, among others. Discrete variable: This is a variable where the values are distinct, separate (not on a continuum), and can be counted. Ex: # of kittens in a litter, the breeds of puppies living in a particular subdivision Experimental hypothesis: H1 speculates that there is a relationship between your variables. This is the hypothesis you are trying to support with your statistical test. Independent variable: A variable that can be manipulated. Inferential statistics: Statistics that analyze the data and allow you to infer something about the population from the sample.

UT Southwestern Medical Center Library—October 2007

Interval variable: An interval variable can be ranked and the intervals between the values can be compared. For statistical purposes, interval and ratio variables are generally treated the same. Mean: Same as the mean. Add up all the values and divide by the number of values. Median: The median is the middle number in a set of data values. The median is important because unlike the mean, the median is not affected by outliers. Mode: The data value that appears most frequently in a set. Nominal variable: This is essentially the same thing as categorical data. Nominal data values cannot be ranked in any order; they can only be placed in categories. Null hypothesis: H0 speculates that there is no relationship between your variables. You always should have both a null and an experimental hypothesis when you are performing statistical tests. Ordinal variable: Ordinal data values can be ranked, but the intervals between them are essentially meaningless. Ex: Runners in a race— Someone comes in first, but we don’t know how much faster the first place winner was than the second place finisher. Outlier: A data value that is significantly larger or smaller than the other values measured for that variable. Population: The set of all objects you are interested in studying. You define what your population is. Probability: How likely a value is to occur. Probability is important because it helps us distinguish whether we are getting a value by chance or because of the levels of other variables. Ratio variable: A ratio variable has a true zero point where you can have zero of whatever you are measuring. These are very rare. For the purposes of statistics, interval and ratio variables are treated the same. Regression: A statistical test that predicts the level of the dependent variable based on the level(s) of one or more independent variable(s).

UT Southwestern Medical Center Library—October 2007

Sample: A subgroup of the population. It is often difficult to measure the entire population, so samples are measured instead and their results are extrapolated to the population as a whole. Significance: The fixed level of probability of incorrectly rejecting a true null hypothesis. This level is normally 0.05 and is frequently indicated by p. It means you have a 5% chance of saying your null hypothesis is wrong when it is really true. Standard deviation: The square root of the variance. This is a measure of how much your data values vary from the mean. Standard normal curve: A symmetrical bell-shaped curve with a mean of 0, and a variance of 1 that represents the distributions of all the sample groups that could be drawn from a population. Statistics: The branch of mathematics that deals with describing and interpreting data and drawing conclusions based on the data Trend: The general direction of a relationship. In statistics, a trend is noticeable but not statistically significant. Variable: A factor that can change from one measurement to the next

UT Southwestern Medical Center Library—October 2007

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