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October 1982

Standard Deviation, Standard Error: Which 'Standard' Should We Use?

Author Affiliations

From the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School, New Mexico, and the Department of Pediatrics, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque.

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(10):937-941. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970460067015

• Standard deviation (SD) and standard error (SE) are quietly but extensively used in biomedical publications. These terms and notations are used as descriptive statistics (summarizing numerical data), and they are used as inferential statistics (estimating population parameters from samples). I review the use and misuse of SD and SE in several authoritative medical journals and make suggestions to help clarify the usage and meaning of SD and SE in biomedical reports.

(Am J Dis Child 1982;136:937-941)

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