Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952651 | Print ISBN: 9781412924702 | Online ISBN: 9781412952651| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ronald S. Landis
Measurement provides a means for quantifying important phenomena of interest. In many measurement contexts, researchers are interested solely in efficiently describing the data. Descriptive statistics are the indexes through which such data summarization may be accomplished. Unlike contexts in which the researcher is interested in drawing generalizations from data, descriptive statistics are not used to draw inferences to a larger population. For example, consider a situation in which a teacher has recently administered an examination. Fundamentally, the teacher has constructed the test in the hope that those with more knowledge of the course material will perform better (receive higher scores) than those with less knowledge of the course material. After scoring the examinations, the teacher records each student's grade in the instructor's grade book, which is organized alphabetically. Although these data can be easily used to identify the performance of any individual ...