Computing Descriptive Statistics


Assignment 1: Descriptive Statistical Processes

Can descriptive statistical processes be used in determining relationships, differences, or effects in your research question and testable null hypothesis? Why or why not? Also, address the value of descriptive statistics for the forensic psychology research problem that you have identified for your course project.

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Computing Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive statistical processes cannot be used in determining relationships, differences, or effects in the research question and testable null hypothesis. Common descriptive statistical processes include the mean, median, mode, standard deviation, range, and measures of variability. Descriptive statistical processes are concerned with collection of data that describes particular events, and the organization and tabulation of the data (Dietz & Kalof, 2009). Descriptive statistics provide the researcher with the basic features of the data gathered. They help the researcher understand basic premises of what the data portrays. In other words, descriptive statistical processes simply help the researcher understand what is going on in the data collected. Another important aspect of descriptive statistics is that they enable a researcher to summarize data in a simple and easily comprehensible way (Dietz & Kalof, 2009). In order to draw references, the researcher must go beyond the descriptive stages of data. Inferential statistics can enable the researcher to make conclusions and even make generalizations regarding a particular group of data.

Descriptive statistics are invaluable to the forensic research problem under consideration, which involves examining the efficacy of cognitive behavioral group therapy in the treatment of severe mental disorders among inmates. A major use of descriptive statistics in the above research problem is in summarizing raw data obtained from the field. When the researcher makes observations or conducts an investigation, large volumes of data are obtained. Descriptive statistical processes enable the researcher to organize data into simpler forms (Dietz & Kalof, 2009). For instance, the researcher may obtain the average of several sets of data rather than taking all variables into consideration, which may prove cumbersome. In analyzing the efficacy of cognitive behavioral group therapy, the researcher may be interested in identifying the ages of all respondents who have achieved full recovery. This data can be summarized by making a distribution table that gives a particular age bracket or range and the percent of individuals having the particular characteristics.

The descriptive statistics will help analyze dispersion. Dispersion is the spread of values around some measure of central tendency (Dietz & Kalof, 2009). A common measure of dispersion is the standard deviation, which is an accurate measure of how far values fall from the mean. In addressing the forensic psychology problem, the researcher may develop a scale that describes the severity of the mental disorder. The researcher may be interested in knowing how other values compare or how they are dispersed. In this case, standard deviation can help in examining the dispersion or the way in which the scores in the scale are spread. Another important measure in descriptive statistics is the mode. The researcher can find the mode in order to establishing the most frequently occurring score of the distribution.


Dietz, T., & Kalof, L. (2009). Introduction to social statistics: The logic of statistical reasoning. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from:            stics&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=descriptive%20statistics&f=false


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