5 number summary

A summary of five statistics describing the distribution of values in a data set (minimum value, first quartile, median value, third quartile and maximum value).

alternate hypothesis

A statement about a population that is contradictory to the null hypothesis, in which a variable has an effect on an outcome being studied.

ante meridiem

Before noon.


A graph using the details of a 5 number summary to show how data is centered around the mean. An alternate name is a box and whisker diagram.


One hundredth of a metre.

confidence interval

A statistic which describes the range in which the true population parameter is likely to be in and gives the probability of how often it would be found in the range.

continuous data

Data which are represented by values on a scale and may use numbers with decimals.

continuous outcomes

Outcomes which have numerous possible outcomes, measured on a scale.

conversion factor

A conversion factor is a specific number used to change a number with a specific unit to another unit by either multiplying or dividing. The specific number is based on the relationship between the old unit and the new unit.


The number on the bottom of a fraction.

density curve

A graph which visually represents the estimation of distribution of values in a sample.

descriptive statistics

A category of statistics used to summarize or describe characteristics about a data set.

dichotomous outcomes

Outcomes which have only two possible options.

discrete data

Data which are represented by whole numbers.

drop factor

The number identifying the number of drops in 1 mL of fluid for particular IV tubing sets.

drop rate

The number of drops infusing per minute of an intravenous infusion.

forest plot

A graph summarizing the comparison of results of multiple studies used in a meta-analysis. The forest plot has data relating to each individual study included in the analysis and a representation of the combined study results.


One thousandth of a kilogram.


A bar graph used to visually display continuous data.

Improper fraction

A fraction with a numerator larger than the denominator.


In statistics, individual refers to the subject being studied.

inferential statistics

A category of statistics which are used to make conclusions about populations through analysis of data collected from randomly selected samples.

international unit

A quantity of a substance that produces a particular effect, as agreed on though the international standard.

interval measurements

Interval measurements refer to data which is measured on scales without an absolute zero.


The standard international unit for mass.

largest common factor

The largest factor shared by a group of numbers.


A metric measurement of volume equivalent to one thousand cubic centimetres.


The statistic describing the average of all values in a data set.


A statistic describing the middle of a data set.


The standard international unit for length.


One millionth of a gram.


One thousandth of an equivalent, which is an amount of substance that reacts with a particular amount of hydrogen ions.


One thousandth of a gram.


One thousandth of a litre.


One thousandth of a mole.

mixed fraction

A fraction representing more than one whole, using a whole number to the left of the numerator and denominator.


A statistic describing the value occurring most often in a data set.

nominal data

Nominal data refers to categories of data which are distinct from one another, described using words.

normal saline

A 0.9% mixture of sodium chloride in water.

null hypothesis

A statement describing a circumstance where there is no difference between the variables being studied.


The number on top of a fraction.


The probability an event will occur divided by the probability of the event not occurring.

odds ratio

The probability of one event divided by the probability of another event.

order of operations

The order of operations are the rules of which calculation comes first in an expression (when doing expressions with more than one operation).
1. the brackets or parentheses (innermost first)
2. exponent (power)
3. multiplication and division (from left-to-right)
4. addition and subtraction (from left-to-right)
Definition from: Key Concepts of Intermediate Level Math by Meizhong, under a CC BY 4.0 License.

ordinal data

Ordinal data refers to categories of data which are related to one another, described using words.


A value widely outside of the range of values in a data set.


A calculated statistic to help determine if study results are just a coincidence by estimating what chance there is of the effect found to be related to sampling error during the study process.


A measured quantity describing a particular characteristic of a population.


Referring to parenteral administration of medications, which is by any route outside of the GI tract.

post meridiem

After noon.

prime numbers

Prime numbers only have two factors, the number one and the number itself.


A statistic describing the difference between the maximum and minimum values of a data set.


A ratio is a numerical expression which shows the connection between two or more related numbers.

ratio measurements

Ratio measurements refer to data measurements which are counted on a scale with a true zero.

reciprocal of a fraction

The reciprocal of a fraction is a fraction made by switching the places of the numerator and denominator.

relative risk

The comparison of the chance of an outcome occurring between two experimental groups.


The chance of an outcome occurring.

standard deviation

A statistic which provides a measure of the overall variation in a data set relative to the mean.


A calculated number describing a particular characteristic of a sample of a population.


A visual summary of the distribution of numbers in a data set.


A particular characteristic of the subject being studied.


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A Guide to Numeracy in Nursing Copyright © 2023 by Julia Langham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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