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Descriptive Statistics -- Research Starters Sociology
By: Wienclaw, Ruth A.;
2009 / EBSCO
Descriptive statistics comprises a set of statistical tools that help sociologists, researchers, and other analysts better understand the masses of data with which they need to work. These tools include various types of charts and graphs to visually display the data so that they can be more easily understood, measures of central tendency that estimate the midpoint of a distribution, and measures of variability that summarize how widely dispersed the data are over the distribution. Each measure of central tendency and variability has particular strengths and weaknesses and should only be used under certain conditions. Descriptive statistics do not allow one to make inferences about the data or to determine whether or not the data values are statistically significant. Rather, they only describe data.