MISSING DATA: A CONCEPTUAL REVIEW FOR APPLIED PSYCHOLOGISTS

Authors


  • The author would like to thank Patricia G. Roth and Fred Switzer (Clemson University) for their comments on earlier drafts of this work. Thanks to Rich Arvey for his encouragement to investigate the field of missing data.

and requests for reprints should be addressed to Philip L. Roth, Department of Management, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634.

Abstract

There has been conspicuously little research concerning missing data problems in the applied psychology literature. Fortunately, other fields have begun to investigate this issue. These include survey research, marketing, statistics, economics, and biometrics. A review of this literature suggests several trends for applied psychologists. For example, listwise deletion of data is often the least accurate technique to deal with missing data. Other methods for estimating missing data scores may be more accurate and preserve more data for investigators to analyze. Further, the literature reveals that the amount of missing data and the reasons for deletion of data impact how investigators should handle the problem. Finally, there is a great need for more investigation of strategies for dealing with missing data, especially when data are missing in nonrandom or systematic patterns.

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