# 7. Statistical methods Describe any methods used to assess whether the data met the assumptions of the statistical approach, and what was done if the assumptions were not met. explanation

Hypothesis tests are based on assumptions about the underlying data. Describing how assumptions were assessed, and whether these assumptions are met by the data, enables readers to assess the suitability of the statistical approach used. If the assumptions are incorrect, the conclusions may not be valid. For example, the assumptions for data used in parametric tests (such as a t-test, Z-test, ANOVA, etc.) are that the data are continuous, the residuals from the analysis are normally distributed, the responses are independent, and that different groups have similar variances.

There are various tests for normality, for example the Shapiro-Wilk and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests. However, these tests have to be used cautiously. If the sample size is small, they will struggle to detect non-normality, if the sample size is large, the tests will detect unimportant deviations. An alternative approach is to evaluate data with visual plots e.g. normal probability plots, box plots, scatterplots. If the residuals of the analysis are not normally distributed, the assumption may be satisfied using a data transformation where the same mathematical function is applied to all data points to produce normally distributed data (e.g. log_{e}, log_{10}, square root).

Other types of outcome measures (binary, categorical, or ordinal) will require different methods of analysis, and each will have different sets of assumptions. For example, categorical data are summarised by counts and percentages or proportions, and are analysed by tests of proportions; these analysis methods assume that data are binary, ordinal or nominal, and independent [1].

For each statistical test used (parametric or non-parametric), report the type of outcome measure and the methods used to test the assumptions of the statistical approach. If data were transformed, identify precisely the transformation used and which outcome measures it was applied to. Report any changes to the analysis if the assumptions were not met and an alternative approach was used (e.g. a non-parametric test was used which does not require the assumption of normality). If the relevant assumptions about the data were not tested, state this explicitly.

## References

- Ruxton G and Colegrave N (2017). Experimental design for the life sciences. Fourth Edition. Oxford University Press.
__https://global.oup.com/academic/product/experimental-design-for-the-life-sciences-9780198717355?cc=us&lang=en&__