Describing and estimating: use and abuse of SD and SE

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    Abstract

    Summarizing data using means and standard deviations (SDs) is commonplace in research reports. Many papers also present means and standard errors (SEs). published reports are frequently confusing and inconsistent in their use of SDs and SEs. This short article clarifies the meaning and appropriate roles for these two important measures, The SD is used when describing study subjects and the SE is used when estimating the precision with which findings from the study sample can be extrapolated to other groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)327-328
    Number of pages2
    JournalThe British Journal of Hospital Medicine
    Volume59
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998

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