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Statistical Treatment

Statistics Definitions > Statistical Treatment

What is Statistical Treatment?

Statistical treatment can mean a few different things:

1. In Data Analysis: Applying any statistical method — like regression or calculating a

mean — to data.
2. In Factor Analysis: Any combination of factor levels is called a treatment.
3. In a Thesis or Experiment: A statistical treatment is a summary of the procedure,
including statistical methods used.

1. Statistical Treatment in Data Analysis

The term “statistical treatment” is a catch all term which means to apply any statistical
method to your data. Treatments are divided into two groups: descriptive statistics,
which summarize your data as a graph or summary statistic and inferential statistics,
which make predictions and test hypotheses about your data. Treatments could include:
 Finding standard deviations and sample standard errors,
 Finding T-Scores or Z-Scores.
 Calculating Correlation coefficients.

2. Treatments in Factor Analysis

Independent variables in factor analysis can have two or more different conditions
(called levels). Any combination of levels from the different independent variables is
called a treatment. For example, treatment 5 in the following experiment is a
combination of Drug A and weekly counseling:

3. Treatments in a Thesis or Experiment

Sometimes you might be asked to include a treatment as part of a thesis. This is asking
you to summarize the data and analysis portion of your experiment, including
measurements and formulas used. For example, the following experimental summary is
from Statistical Treatment in Acta Physiologica Scandinavica. :
Each of the test solutions was injected twice in each subject…30-42 values were
obtained for the intensity, and a like number for the duration, of the pain indiced by the
solution. The pain values reported in the following are arithmetical means for these 30-
42 injections.”
The author goes on to provide formulas for the mean, the standard deviation and the
standard error of the mean.
Statistical Methods for Quantitative Research

Quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements and the statistical,

mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and
surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques.
Quantitative research focuses on gathering numerical data and generalizing it across
groups of people or to explain a particular phenomenon.

Characteristics of Quantitative Research

Your goal in conducting quantitative research study is to determine the relationship
between one thing [an independent variable] and another [a dependent or outcome
variable] within a population. Quantitative research designs are either descriptive
[subjects usually measured once] or experimental [subjects measured before and after
a treatment]. A descriptive study establishes only associations between variables; an
experimental study establishes causality.
Quantitative research deals in numbers, logic, and an objective stance. Quantitative
research focuses on numeric and unchanging data and detailed, convergent reasoning
rather than divergent reasoning [i.e., the generation of a variety of ideas about a
research problem in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner].
Its main characteristics are:

 The data is usually gathered using structured research instruments.

 The results are based on larger sample sizes that are representative of the
 The research study can usually be replicated or repeated, given its high
 Researcher has a clearly defined research question to which objective answers
are sought.
 All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected.
 Data are in the form of numbers and statistics, often arranged in tables, charts,
figures, or other non-textual forms.
 Project can be used to generalize concepts more widely, predict future results, or
investigate causal relationships.
 Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or computer software, to collect
numerical data.

The overarching aim of a quantitative research study is to classify features, count them,
and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed.
Things to keep in mind when reporting the results of a study using quantitative

1. Explain the data collected and their statistical treatment as well as all relevant
results in relation to the research problem you are investigating. Interpretation of
results is not appropriate in this section.
2. Report unanticipated events that occurred during your data collection. Explain
how the actual analysis differs from the planned analysis. Explain your handling
of missing data and why any missing data does not undermine the validity of your
3. Explain the techniques you used to "clean" your data set.
4. Choose a minimally sufficient statistical procedure; provide a rationale for its
use and a reference for it. Specify any computer programs used.
5. Describe the assumptions for each procedure and the steps you took to ensure
that they were not violated.
6. When using inferential statistics, provide the descriptive statistics, confidence
intervals, and sample sizes for each variable as well as the value of the test
statistic, its direction, the degrees of freedom, and the significance level [report
the actual p value].
7. Avoid inferring causality, particularly in nonrandomized designs or without
further experimentation.
8. Use tables to provide exact values; use figures to convey global effects. Keep
figures small in size; include graphic representations of confidence intervals
whenever possible.
9. Always tell the reader what to look for in tables and figures.

NOTE: When using pre-existing statistical data gathered and made available by
anyone other than yourself [e.g., government agency], you still must report on the
methods that were used to gather the data and describe any missing data that exists
and, if there is any, provide a clear explanation why the missing data does not
undermine the validity of your final analysis.


Babbie, Earl R. The Practice of Social Research. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage,

Muijs, Daniel. Doing Quantitative Research in Education with SPSS. 2nd edition. London: SAGE
Publications, 2010.

Babbie, Earl R. The Practice of Social Research. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Cengage, 2010.
Brians, Craig Leonard et al. Empirical Political Analysis: Quantitative and Qualitative
Research Methods. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Longman, 2011; McNabb,
David E. Research Methods in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management:
Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. 2nd ed. Armonk, NY: M.E.
Sharpe, 2008; Quantitative Research Methods. Writing@CSU. Colorado State
University; Singh, Kultar. Quantitative Social Research Methods. Los Angeles, CA:
Sage, 2007.
Basic Statistical Tools in Research and Data Analysis

 Statistics is a branch of science that deals with the collection, organization,

analysis of data and drawing of inferences from the samples to the whole

 This requires a proper design of the study, an appropriate selection of the study
sample and choice of a suitable statistical test.

 Statistical methods involved in carrying out a study include planning, designing,

collecting data, analyzing, drawing meaningful interpretation and reporting of the
research findings.

 The statistical analysis gives meaning to the meaningless numbers, thereby

breathing life into a lifeless data. The results and inferences are precise only if
proper statistical tests are used.

Branches of Statistics

Descriptive statistics deals with the presentation and collection of data. This is usually
the first part of a statistical analysis. It is usually not as simple as it sounds, and the
statistician needs to be aware of designing experiments, choosing the right focus
group and avoid biases.

Inferential statistics, as the name suggests, involves drawing the right conclusions
from the statistical analysis that has been performed using descriptive statistics.
In the end, it is the inferences that make studies important and this aspect is dealt with
in inferential statistics.

Most predictions of the future and generalizations about a population by studying a

smaller sample come under the purview of inferential statistics. Most social sciences
experiments deal with studying a small sample population that helps determine how the
population in general behaves. By designing the right experiment, the researcher is able
to draw conclusions relevant to his study.

While drawing conclusions, one needs to be very careful so as not to draw the wrong or
biased conclusions. Even though this appears like a science, there are ways in which
one can manipulate studies and results through various means. For example, data
dredging is increasingly becoming a problem as computers hold loads of information
and it is easy, either intentionally or unintentionally, to use the wrong inferential

Both descriptive and inferential statistics go hand in hand and one cannot exist without
the other. Good scientific methodology needs to be followed in both these steps of
statistical analysis and both these branches of statistics are equally important for a

Parameters in Statistics

Parameter in statistics is an important component of any statistical analysis. In simple

words, a parameter is any numerical quantity that characterizes a given population or
some aspect of it. This means the parameter tells us something about the whole

The most common statistics parameters are the measures of central tendency. These
tell us how the data behaves on an average basis. For example, mean, median and
mode are measures of central tendency that give us an idea about where the data
concentrates. Standard deviation tells us how the data is spread from the central
tendency, i.e. whether the distribution is wide or narrow. Such parameters are often very
useful in analysis.


 Variable is a characteristic that varies from one individual member of population

to another individual.

 Variables such as height and weight are measured by some type of scale,
convey quantitative information and are called as quantitative variables. Sex
and eye color give qualitative information and are called as qualitative variables

Figure 1. Classification of Variables

Quantitative variables
Quantitative or numerical data are subdivided into discrete and continuous
measurements. Discrete numerical data are recorded as a whole number such as 0, 1,
2, 3,… (integer), whereas continuous data can assume any value. Observations that
can be counted constitute the discrete data and observations that can be measured
constitute the continuous data. Examples of discrete data are number of episodes of
respiratory arrests or the number of re-intubations in an intensive care unit. Similarly,
examples of continuous data are the serial serum glucose levels, partial pressure of
oxygen in arterial blood and the oesophageal temperature.
A hierarchical scale of increasing precision can be used for observing and recording the
data which is based on categorical, ordinal, interval and ratio scales [Figure 1].
Categorical or nominal variables are unordered. The data are merely classified into
categories and cannot be arranged in any particular order. If only two categories exist
(as in gender male and female), it is called as a dichotomous (or binary) data. The
various causes of re-intubation in an intensive care unit due to upper airway obstruction,
impaired clearance of secretions, hypoxemia, hypercapnia, pulmonary oedema and
neurological impairment are examples of categorical variables.
Ordinal variables have a clear ordering between the variables. However, the ordered
data may not have equal intervals. Examples are the American Society of
Anesthesiologists status or Richmond agitation-sedation scale.
Interval variables are similar to an ordinal variable, except that the intervals between the
values of the interval variable are equally spaced. A good example of an interval scale
is the Fahrenheit degree scale used to measure temperature. With the Fahrenheit
scale, the difference between 70° and 75° is equal to the difference between 80° and
85°: The units of measurement are equal throughout the full range of the scale.
Ratio scales are similar to interval scales, in that equal differences between scale
values have equal quantitative meaning. However, ratio scales also have a true zero
point, which gives them an additional property. For example, the system of centimetres
is an example of a ratio scale. There is a true zero point and the value of 0 cm means a
complete absence of length. The thyromental distance of 6 cm in an adult may be twice
that of a child in whom it may be 3 cm.

Descriptive Statistics
 Descriptive statistics: describes and summarizes data. You are just describing
what the data shows: a trend, a specific feature, or a certain statistic (like a mean
or median).
 Descriptive statistics just describes data. For example, descriptive statistics
about a college could include: the average SAT score for incoming freshmen; the
median income of parents; racial makeup of the student body. It says nothing
about why the data might exist, or what trends you might be able to see from the
 Descriptive statistics can be further broken down into several sub-areas, like:
 Measures of central tendency.
 Measures of dispersion.
 Charts & graphs.
 Shapes of Distributions.
Central Tendency (Measures of Location): Definition and Examples

What is Central Tendency?

Central tendency (sometimes called “measures of location,” “central location,” or just
“center”) is a way to describe what’s typical for a set of data. Central tendency doesn’t
tell you specifics about the individual pieces of data, but it does give you an overall
picture of what is going on in the entire data set. There are three major ways to show
central tendency: mean, mode and median.

 The mean is the average of a set of numbers. Add up all the numbers in a set
of data and then divide by the number of items in the set. For example, the mean
of 2 3 5 9 11 is:
(2 + 3 + 5 + 9 + 11) / 5 = 30 / 5 = 6.

 The median is the middle of a set of numbers. Think of it like the median in a
road (that grassy area in the middle that separates traffic). Place your data in
order, and the number in the exact center of a list is the median. For example:
The median is 4 because it’s in the center, with three numbers either side.

 The mode is the most common number in a set of data. For example, the mode
of 1 2 2 3 5 6 is 2. Some data sets have no mode, like this one: 1 2 3 4 5 6.
Others have multiple modes, like this one: 1 1 2 3 3.