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Histogram Definition In statistics, a histogram is a graphical representation showing a visual impression of the distribution of data. It is an estimate of the probability distribution of a continuous variable and was first introduced by Karl Pearson. A histogram consists of tabular frequencies, shown as adjacent rectangles, erected over discrete intervals (bins), with an area equal to the frequency of the observations in the interval. The height of a rectangle is also equal to the frequency density of the interval, i.e., the frequency divided by the width of the interval. The total area of the histogram is equal to the number of data. A histogram may also be normalized displaying relative frequencies. It then shows the proportion of cases that fall into each of several categories, with the total area equaling 1. The categories are usually specified as consecutive, non-overlapping intervals of a variable. The categories (intervals) must be adjacent, and often are chosen to be of the same size.[2] The rectangles of a histogram are drawn so that they touch each other to indicate that the original variable is continuous. Know More About Binomial Distribution Formula

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Histograms are used to plot density of data, and often for density estimation: estimating the probability density function of the underlying variable. The total area of a histogram used for probability density is always normalized to 1. If the length of the intervals on the x-axis are all 1, then a histogram is identical to a relative frequency plot. An alternative to the histogram is kernel density estimation, which uses a kernel to smooth samples. This will construct a smooth probability density function, which will in general more accurately reflect the underlying variable. The histogram provides important information about the shape of a distribution. According to the values presented, the histogram is either highly or moderately skewed to the left or right. A symmetrical shape is also possible, although a histogram is never perfectly symmetrical. If the histogram is skewed to the left, or negatively skewed, the tail extends further to the left. An example for a distribution skewed to the left might be the relative frequency of exam scores. Most of the scores are above 70 percent and only a few low scores occur. An example for a distribution skewed to the right or positively skewed is a histogram showing the relative frequency of housing values. A relatively small number of expensive homes create the skeweness to the right. The tail extends further to the right. The shape of a symmetrical distribution mirrors the skeweness of the left or right tail. For example the histogram of data for IQ scores. Histograms can be unimodal, bi-modal or multimodal, depending on the dataset.

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Categorical Data Analysis The reference material and many examples for this section are based on Chapter 8, Analyzing Association Between Categorical Variables, from Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences, 3rd edition (Alan Agresti and Barbara Finlay, Prentice Hall). Alan Agresti, a statistics professor at the University of Florida, is one of the worlds leading research authorities on categorical data analysis. Barbara Finlay is a sociologist at Texas A&M University. The technique for analyzing categorical data that is most frequently taught in introductory statistics courses is the Chi-square test for independence. Consider the following two-way table that displays the results from a survey that Dr. Scheaffer asked his freshman and sophomore students to complete. The responses in the table are answers to the question, Do you currently have a job? Columns show the yes/no answers; rows show whether students The c^2 -value is 3.4, and the P-value is 0.065. What information do these numbers provide? Since the P-value is relatively small, many researchers would conclude that there is some association between job status and class. Does the chi-square value of 3.4 tell us anything more?

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Does the chi-square statistic tell us what we really want to know? Most likely what we really want to know about is the nature of the association. The chi-square value does not tell us anything at all about the nature of the association. In fact, the chi-square value tells us very little and is considered by many statisticians to be overused as a technique for analyzing categorical data. In this situation we can look directly at the data and conclude that sophomores have jobs at a higher rate than freshmen, but we do not get this information from the test results. The test tells us only that there is a relationship somewhere in the data. There are other techniques for analyzing categorical data that give us more information. In this situation, for example, we would like to look at the proportions to get additional information. What we would like to have for categorical data analysis are techniques that give us useful information like we get from correlation and regression analysis for continuous data. Recall that the regression equation, in particular the slope from the regression equation, and the correlation value give us information we want to know. Once we have these values, we could throw away the actual data and still have lots of useful information, especially if we know whether or not the slope is significantly different from zero. We would like to have some additional measures for categorical data that tell us 1. Is there evidence of association? 2. If so, how strong is it? Consider the following two-way table that categorizes a sample of people in the work force by income level (high or low) and educational level (end after high school or end after college).

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