4. Characterizing Data Numerically: Descriptive Statistics

  1. Todd L. VanPool and
  2. Robert D. Leonard

Published Online: 20 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444390155.ch4

Quantitative Analysis in Archaeology

Quantitative Analysis in Archaeology

How to Cite

VanPool, T. L. and Leonard, R. D. (2010) Characterizing Data Numerically: Descriptive Statistics, in Quantitative Analysis in Archaeology, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444390155.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 22 NOV 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405189514

Online ISBN: 9781444390155



  • characterizing data numerically - descriptive statistics;
  • visual representations of data - gaining information on using data;
  • statistical sample - subset of data in statistical populations;
  • distinction between populations/samples - and statistical populations/samples;
  • archaeologists, measuring populations of interest - deriving statistical populations;
  • measures of dispersion - measures of central tendency, information about distribution's location along measurement scale;
  • variance and standard deviation, and related statistics - comparing shapes of distributions;
  • calculating estimates - of mean and standard deviation;
  • coefficient of variation, in a comparative sense - other coefficients of variation;
  • characterizing nominal and ordinal scale data


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Measures of Central Tendency

  • Measures of Dispersion

  • Calculating Estimates of the Mean and Standard Deviation

  • Coefficients of Variation

  • Box Plots

  • Characterizing Nominal and Ordinal Scale Data