Tutorial: t-test

Comparison of Cultures

Imagine you are a researcher interested in cross-cultural differences in child rearing. You have data on the distance measured between mother and child for two different countries: Belize and Samoa.

You are a researcher interested in differences in child rearing practices in Belize and Samoa. You believe Samoan mothers, on average, are more likely to let their children roam whereas mothers in Belize are more likely to keep their children close at hand. You have data for a sample of 4-year old children from each country regarding how far each child is, on average, from his or her mother at a predetermined observation time. How would you proceed?

The Expert says:  I think that the first and most essential step in data analysis is to look at your data. It is always a good idea to first subject data to what I like to call the “interoccular trauma test” – By interoccular trauma I mean look at the data and see if something jumps out at you as strange. It is also extremely useful to look at descriptive statistics such as the minimum and maximum value, the mean and standard deviation for variables of interest. Graphs provide another means by which to evaluate our data. All of these strategies should be used prior to hypothesis testing.


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