Introduction to biostatistics: Part 2, descriptive statistics

Gary M. Gaddis, Monica L. Gaddis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Descriptive statistics include measures of central tendency and variability. Measures of central tendency include mean, median, and mode. The mean is the arithmetic average of data from interval or ratio scales. The median reflects the 50th percentile score. The mode is the most frequently occurring value of a data distribution. Measures of variability include range, interquartile range, standard deviation, and standard error of the mean. The range describes the spread between the extreme values of data. Interquartile range is data included between the 25th and 75th percentile of a distribution. Standard deviation describes variability of data about the sample mean, while standard error of the mean helps describe the distribution of several sample means about a true population mean. Finally, confidence intervals, which are derived from the standard error of the mean, define an interval likely to include a true population value, based on sample statistical values and probability characteristics of data distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-315
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990


  • biostatistics


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