Chapter 10

Descriptive statistics

Chapter 10 of Performing Music Research sets out the fundamental principles that underpin all statistics. Statistics must be used with care, and strict conditions govern their deployment, many of which have to be considered in the earliest stages of research. The chapter discusses techniques for organizing, describing, and summarizing data. It introduces the concepts of central tendency and variability, as it is essential for carrying out statistical tests to know the difference between means, medians, and modes, and when and how to use them, and to understand how data vary within, as well as between, samples.

Research spotlights

Box 10.2
Music students’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviours toward health

Research investigating how music students consider and address their mental and physical wellbeing.

Read the full report:

Araújo L, Wasley D, Perkins R, Atkins L, Redding E, Ginsborg J, & Williamon A (2017), Fit to perform: an investigation of higher education music students’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors toward health, Frontiers in Psychology, 8 (1558), 1-19 [DOI].

Film produced by: Tantrwm Digital Media

Box 10.3
Music students’ physical fitness

Research finding that more can be done to help ensure musicians are physically fit and ready to take the stage.

Read the full report:

Araújo L, Wasley D, Redding E, Atkins L, Perkins R, Ginsborg J, & Williamon A (2020), Fit to perform: a profile of higher education music students’ physical fitness, Frontiers in Psychology, 11 (298), 1-18 [DOI].

Film produced by: Tantrwm Digital Media


Practice questions

These questions test your knowledge of the content of Chapter 10.

A parameter describes a feature of a population.

In which approach to missing data do you leave out the participants who had not provided their marks out of only the analyses examining the missing value?

The mean can be used to describe ordinal data.

In most measures of the fit of the data to a model, higher values indicate less fit.

What is the most common measure of fit reported alongside means in social science research?

What kind of data visualisation displays the relationship between two continuous variables on its x- and y-axes?

Which type of data visualisation cannot be used to describe nominal data?

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