Can descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation be used to analyse or answer research questions containing both independent and dependent variables in a study?
Statistical analysis involves collecting and scrutinizing every data sample in a set of items from which samples can be drawn. Different statistical analysis methods such as t-test, binomial test, Chi square test etc., are available in statistics. Research questions related to different variables are analyzed using different statistical analysis methods. Longitudinal variables (e.g. Height/weight) in two/more categories/groups can be done by comparing means or medians, depending on the normality of the data. Means are used when the data is normally distributed whilst medians are useful to compare skewed data. In addition, decision regarding which statistical test to apply is equally important. Please refer to our e-book of clinical biostatistics to understand the intricacies of statistical analysis. Although this e-book mainly focuses on biostatistics – it also clarifies several useful concepts about statistical analysis in general.
Regarding statistical programs, SPSS and GraphPad PRISM are widely used. Although they are paid softwares, most universities nowadays tend to provide their premium versions to all their staff and students. For more information on statistical analysis programs, you can check the following link: https://woofresh.com/statistical-analysis-software/. Notably, Microsoft Excel can also be used for complex analysis.
Post the statistical analysis, you might need to add the data in the form of tables, charts and figures. For details on how to represent the data correctly in tables, charts and figures, check out this course on Enago Learn.