Detecting the skewness of data from the sample size and the five-number summary

10/12/2020 ∙ by Jiandong Shi, et al. ∙ 0

For clinical studies with continuous outcomes, when the data are potentially skewed, researchers may choose to report the whole or part of the five-number summary (the sample median, the first and third quartiles, and the minimum and maximum values), rather than the sample mean and standard deviation. For the studies with skewed data, if we include them in the classical meta-analysis for normal data, it may yield misleading or even wrong conclusions. In this paper, we develop a flow chart and three new tests for detecting the skewness of data from the sample size and the five-number summary. Simulation studies demonstrate that our new tests are able to control the type I error rates, and meanwhile provide good statistical power. A real data example is also analyzed to demonstrate the usefulness of the skewness tests in meta-analysis and evidence-based practice.



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