Get access

Selecting the most appropriate inferential statistical test for your quantitative research study

Authors

  • Josette Bettany-Saltikov MSc, MCSP, Dip Physio, PhD,

    Senior Lecturer in Research Methods and Chartered Physiotherapist, Corresponding author
    1. Teesside University, Institute of Health and Social Care, Middlesbrough, UK
    • Correspondence: Josette Bettany-Saltikov, Senior Lecturer in Research Methods and Chartered Physiotherapist, Teesside University, Institute of Health and Social Care, Middlesbrough TS13BA, UK. Telephone: +44 (0)1642 342981.

      E-mail: j.b.saltikov@tees.ac.uk

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Victoria Jane Whittaker BSc, MSc

    Senior Lecturer in Research Methods
    1. Teesside University, Institute of Health and Social Care, Middlesbrough, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Aims and objectives

To discuss the issues and processes relating to the selection of the most appropriate statistical test. A review of the basic research concepts together with a number of clinical scenarios is used to illustrate this.

Background

Quantitative nursing research generally features the use of empirical data which necessitates the selection of both descriptive and statistical tests. Different types of research questions can be answered by different types of research designs, which in turn need to be matched to a specific statistical test(s).

Design

Discursive paper.

Methods

This paper discusses the issues relating to the selection of the most appropriate statistical test and makes some recommendations as to how these might be dealt with.

Conclusion

When conducting empirical quantitative studies, a number of key issues need to be considered. Considerations for selecting the most appropriate statistical tests are discussed and flow charts provided to facilitate this process.

Relevance to clinical practice

When nursing clinicians and researchers conduct quantitative research studies, it is crucial that the most appropriate statistical test is selected to enable valid conclusions to be made.

Ancillary