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Analysis checklist: Descriptive statistics

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The smallest value.

25th percentile

25% of values are lower than this.


Half the values are lower; half are higher.

75th percentile

75% of values are lower than this.


The largest value.


The average.

Standard Deviation

Quantifies variability or scatter.

Standard Error of Mean

Quantifies how precisely the mean is known.

95% confidence interval

Given some assumptions, there is a 95% chance that this range includes the true overall mean.

Coefficient of variation

The standard deviation divided by the mean.

Geometric mean

Compute the logarithm of all values, compute the mean of the logarithms, and then take the antilog of that mean. It is a better measure of central tendency when data follow a lognormal distribution (long tail).

Harmonic mean

Compute the reciprocal of all values, compute the mean of the reciprocals, and then take the reciprocal of that mean.  

Quadratic mean

Compute the square of all values, compute the mean of the squares, and then take the square root of that mean.


Quantifies how symmetrical the distribution is. A distribution that is symmetrical has a skewness of 0.


Quantifies whether the tails of the data distribution matches the Gaussian distribution. A Gaussian distribution has a kurtosis of 0.


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