Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

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The research glossary defines terms used in conducting social science and policy research, for example those describing methods, measurements, statistical procedures, and other aspects of research; the child care glossary defines terms used to describe aspects of child care and early education practice and policy.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z
Bar Chart/Graph
Bar charts are used by researchers to visually represent the frequencies or percentages with which different categories of a variable occur. They are most often used when describing and comparing the percentages of different groups with a specific characteristic. For example, the percentages of boys and girls who participate in team sports. However, they may also be used when describing averages such as the average time boys and girls spend per week participating in team sports. A bar is drawn for each of the groups along the horizontal axis and the height of the bar corresponds to the frequency or percentage with which the characteristic occurs (vertical axis).
Bayesian Statistics
Bayesian statistics is a general approach to estimating population parameters (characteristics) that uses both information about the prior distribution of the parameter of interest along with new evidence (likelihood function). In Bayesian statistics, the posterior probability distribution is the probability distribution once all information is taken into account.
Bell-Shaped Curve
A curve characteristic of a normal distribution, which is symmetrical about the mean and extends infinitely in both directions. The mean (average) is always in the center of the bell or normal curve. One half of the data points are to the left and one half are to the right of the mean.
Beta Level
The probability of making an error when comparing groups and stating that differences between the groups are the result of the chance variations when in reality the differences are the result of the experimental manipulation or intervention. Also referred to as the probability of making a Type II error.
Between-Group Variance
A measure of the difference between the means of various groups.
Between-Subject Design
Experimental design in which a different group of subjects are used for each level of the variable under study.
Bias
Influences that distort the results of a research study.
Bimodal Distribution
A distribution in which two scores or values are the most frequently occurring. Interpreting the average of a bimodal distribution is problematic because the data are not normally distributed. Identifying bimodal distributions is done by examining a frequency distribution or by looking at indices of skew or kurtosis, which are frequently available with statistical software packages.
Bootstrapping
A popular method for variance estimation in surveys. It consists of subsampling from the initial sample. Within each stratum in the sample, a simple random subsample is selected with replacement. This creates a finite number of new samples (or repetitions). The same parameter estimate is then calculated for each of the subsamples. The variance of the estimated parameter is then equal to the variance of the estimates from these subsamples.