Problems with Using the Normal Distribution - and Ways to Improve Quality and Efficiency of Data Analysis

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Background The Gaussian or normal distribution is the most established model to characterize quantitative variation of original data. Accordingly, data are summarized using the arithmetic mean and the standard deviation, by ± SD, or with the standard error of the mean, ± SEM. This, together with corresponding bars in graphical displays has become the standard to characterize variation. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we question the adequacy of this characterization, and of the model. The published literature...
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