Statistics resources

These pages are designed to guide you towards the statistical resources you need such as:

  • Choosing appropriate plots and descriptive statistics to describe and illustrate your dataset.
  • Deciding which type of statistical test is best for your research question.
  • How to perform these calculations using different software packages. 

Which statistical test do I need to use?

Statistics is a process. We don't just know which statistical test to use or the best way of illustrating our results, we are guided by the type of data we have and our research question. There are three key stages to consider as outlined in How to Analyze Data (Radcliffe, 2020):

  • Step 1: What type of data do you have?
  • Step 2: How will you describe your data (descriptive statistics)?
  • Step 3: Which statistical test will you use (inferential statistics)?

Step 1: Types of data

What type of data do you have?

The type of data you have informs which type of plots and statistical tests are appropriate to illustrate your findings. 

Data are often classified as being Nominal, Ordinal, Interval and Ratio. Other names used to refer to different types of data are: categorical or scale, discrete or continuous and quantitative and qualitative. If you are unsure about any of these terms, follow the link below for a brief explanation.

Step 2: Descriptive statistics

How will you describe your data?

Descriptive statistics refers to the process of describing your data using tables, plots and key statistical measures to summarize key information. Describing your data requires you to be sure of the type of data you have in order to choose the appropriate statistical measure and/or plot.

This page details different types of plots, statistical measures and how to do them in different statistical packages.

Step 3: Inferential statistics

Which statistical test will you use?

Being able to make inferences from data to see if there are associations, differences or relationships requires us to use inferential statistics. For this, we need a clearly defined research question and statistical hypothesis. 

This page details how to set up a statistical hypothesis, and provides you with tables of key statistical tests together with links to further resources on how to perform these calculations using various software packages

The difference between descriptive and inferential statistics

Want to know more about the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics? Take a look at Descriptive and Inferential Statistics written by Laerd statistics.

Recommended books

Man reading at a desk
  • Radcliffe, C. (2020). How to analyze data. London: Red Globe Press: A pocket sized, friendly, practical, beginner's guide to understanding, analyzing and interpreting data. It takes you step-by-step through each stage in the statistical process. 
  • Field, A. (2018) Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. 5th ed. London: Sage: The go-to book on learning statistics using IBM SPSS. Loved by students and cats alike.
  • Navarro, D. & Foxcroft D. (2019). Learning statistics with jamovi: A tutorial for psychology students and other beginners. (Version 0.70). DOI: 10.24384/hgc3-7p15: Covers the content of an introductory statistics class, as typically taught to undergraduate psychology students. Download a free copy of Navarro and Foxcroft.