Writing with Descriptive Statistics – How To Do It

How to Write Descriptive Statistics?

Descriptive statistics are very important in all aspects of life. The purpose of every statistical analysis is to help you get an in-depth understanding of the variables involved in your study.

For example, whether or not a single variable has some impacts on other aspects and whether the groups involved are similar or different etc. Statistics can be viewed as scientific tools but they cannot entirely be independent. Their purpose is to give meaning the data collected in order to justify whether you have achieved the intended purpose of the research or whether your results are significant.

Keys to Write Descriptive Statistics

We cannot say that there is a prescribed way of writing a statistic. It is very rare to find a statistic that sounds good in a paper. This is based on the fact that it always interrupts the structure or the flow of your paper.

In most cases, the best way to report your statistic in your paper is to do it in a more direct manner. When you want to cite several statistics concerning the same topic, it is best to do so in a single section or paragraph. This will make your work look organized.

For example:

  • The mean of Series two exam is 75.6 the median is 70, and the mode is 72. Series two exam had a standard deviation of 12.3.
  • The company has grown in terms of the amounts of exports. This year, the company has managed to ship 13.4 tons of maize, an average of 1.6 tons of maize during the summer months. This is a great improvement from last where the company shipped only 11.3 tons of maize on an average of 1.3 tons during the summer months. The standard deviations were 0.3 and 0.4 respectively.

In some cases, people prefer to put the descriptive statistics in parentheses.

  • Team A (52.5) scored higher than team B (50.5). The standard deviations of both teams are (8.3) and (7.9) respectively.

For a large number of statistics, the best way to handle them is presenting them in form of graphs or tables or any other form of visualization. After which, you are going to capture the main statistic in the text. This allows you not to discuss the entire statistic in a text. It not only saves on space but also a considerable amount of time.

If for example, you are dealing with the test score of an exam as your data set, it would be quite absurd for you to have all the score from that exam in your article or paper. The main function of descriptive statistics is to summarize large chunks of data into information that is meaningful. Therefore, having the entire data set in your paper goes gives statistics no meaning.

In most case, you should at least have the mean and the standard deviation as the descriptive statistics for your set of values. This is the least amount of information that one needs to paint a picture of the distribution of your data. The amount of additional information lies squarely on you.

In simple terms, you don’t have to include irrelevant information in your paper. Your main focus should be on the statistics that will help your reader understand your argument and not ones that are going to mislead them. To make your statistics clearer, you can think of adding footnotes to explain them further.

Statistics Report Format

The following is a brief summary on how you can report your descriptive statistics

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Reporting Mean and Standard Deviation

Mean or the average values are always reported alongside with the standard deviation or the measure of variability. This is also known as the standard error of the mean. We have two common ways of reporting the mean and the standard deviation.

  • The total age of students (n=10) averaged 12 years (s=2.35) in the class of 2012 samples from Petersburg School.

S= standard Deviation.

  • The total age of students (n=10) averaged 12+2.35 in the class of 2012 samples from Petersburg School.

Standard Deviation

The standard deviation can also be written in parentheses.

For example:

The sample was generally young (M=12.65, SD=1.25)

The average age of students was 12.65 years (SD= 1.25)

Descriptive Results

The following are some key points for writing descriptive results:

  • Add a table of the raw data in the appendix
  • Include a table with the appropriate descriptive statistics e.g. the mean, mode, median, and standard deviation. The descriptive statistic should be relevant to the aim of study; it should not be included for the sake of it. If you are not going to use the mode anywhere, don’t include it.
  • Identify the level or data. We have for levels of data, nominal, ordinal interval or ratio. Your choice of statistic should be justified based on the level of data. In most case, the interval or ration data is most applicable.
  • Include a graph. The graph should have a title that augers well with the purpose of the study and all the axes should be well labeled. Make sure that your graph is about the aim of the study and the graph should only one. You should not have different graphs showing the statistics of a different variable. Also, make sure that the graph is not about the raw data; rather it should be about the statistic. In brief, the graph should provide an answer to your research question.
  • Give an explanation of your statistic in a short paragraph. Make sure to inform you’re your readers briefly about your distribution table and the meaning of the data in the graph. This should be a short paragraph but it should be able to capture all the details in your table and graph. In general, you should try to explain the factors that have led to the skewed data or the factors that account for the high levels of standard deviations.

With this guide you are good to go!! As far as descriptive statistics is concerned.