Description of Statistical Sidebar: Demographic Data and Demonstrations of Difference
An article in this issue, entitled “Executive Function and Behavioral Problems in Students with Visual Impairments at Mainstream and Special Schools,” by Heyl and Hintermair, offers a good example of how statistics should be used to illustrate differences in data that might, without the guidance of statistics, be given too much or not enough consideration by readers. In Table 1 of this article, the authors list several demographic variables (measures that describe the participants who took part in the study). It is very useful for authors to provide such a table that includes information about means and standard deviations—not only for descriptive characteristics of their participants, but also for their experimental measures. Providing such information offers readers a sense of the overall scope of the data and sometimes reveals general patterns in the data. Since means and standard deviations are generally the building blocks upon which further statistical testing is based, such information can also offer a way to analyze whether the statistical results are reported accurately and what the clinical or practical meaning of the statistical testing might be.