Social Research Glossary A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home
Citation reference: Harvey, L., 201220, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/socialresearch/ This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any email suggestions for additions or amendments.

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Normal distribution
A normal distribution is a bellshaped frequency distribution curve reflecting the occurence of human attributes as well as representing sampling distributions, which is an important element of probability theory.
A normal distribution is a bellshaped frequency distribution curve that is often obtained when human characteristics are measured and plotted. For example, height shows an approximately normal distribution: most adults are of medium height while a few are short and a few are tall, so that when height is plotted against frequency something close to the bellshaped normal curve is obtained. The normal distribution is a mathematically defined curve, however.
The normal distribution has some very useful features that are important in probability theory. Most importantly, for statistical analysis some sampling distributions are approximately normally distributed. This enables estimates of sampling variation and hence sampling error to be made. In effect it allow us to estimate how close the results from a sample are to the true figures for the population.
Normal distribution and formula. Note that the normal distribution is a function of the standard deviation of the distribution and there is a constant proportion of the area under the curve for ach standard deviation from the mean, which is at the centre.
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