chi-square test

How to do a Chi-square test when you only have proportions and denominators

March 18th, 2011 by

by Annette Gerritsen, Ph.D.

In an earlier article I discussed how to do a cross-tabulation in SPSS. But what if you do not have a data set with the values of the two variables of interest?

For example, if you do a critical appraisal of a published study and only have proportions and denominators.

In this article it will be demonstrated how SPSS can come up with a cross table and do a Chi-square test in both situations. And you will see that the results are exactly the same.

‘Normal’ dataset

If you want to test if there is an association between two nominal variables, you do a Chi-square test.

In SPSS you just indicate that one variable (the independent one) should come in the row, (more…)

Chi-square test vs. Logistic Regression: Is a fancier test better?

November 9th, 2009 by

I recently received this email, which I thought was a great question, and one of wider interest…

Hello Karen,
I am an MPH student in biostatistics and I am curious about using regression for tests of associations in applied statistical analysis.  Why is using regression, or logistic regression “better” than doing bivariate analysis such as Chi-square?

I read a lot of studies in my graduate school studies, and it seems like half of the studies use Chi-Square to test for association between variables, and the other half, who just seem to be trying to be fancy, conduct some complicated regression-adjusted for-controlled by- model. But the end results seem to be the same. I have worked with some professionals that say simple is better, and that using Chi- Square is just fine, but I have worked with other professors that insist on building models. It also just seems so much more simple to do chi-square when you are doing primarily categorical analysis.

My professors don’t seem to be able to give me a simple justified
answer, so I thought I’d ask you. I enjoy reading your site and plan to begin participating in your webinars.

Thank you!


Observed Values less than 5 in a Chi Square test – No biggie.

June 19th, 2009 by

I was recently asked this question about Chi-square tests.  This question comes up a lot, so I thought I’d share my answer.

I have to compare two sets of categorical data in a 2×4 table. I cannot run the chi-square test because most of the cells contain values less than five and a couple of them contain values of 0. Is there any other test that I could use that overcomes the limitations of chi-square?

And here is my answer: (more…)