Missing Data – Limitations of Listwise Deletion


There are lots of methods to method lacking knowledge. The most typical, I imagine, is to disregard it. However making no alternative signifies that your statistical software program is selecting for you. And your software program is usually selecting listwise deletion, which can or will not be a nasty alternative, relying on why and the way a lot knowledge are lacking.

One other widespread method, amongst those that are paying consideration, is imputation-replacing the lacking values with an estimate, then analyzing the complete knowledge set as if the imputed values had been precise noticed values. There are lots of methods to decide on an estimate. The next are widespread strategies:

* Imply: the imply of the noticed values for that variable

* Sizzling deck: a randomly chosen worth from a person who has comparable values on different variables

* Regression: the expected worth obtained by regressing the lacking variable on different variables

* Stochastic regression: the expected worth from a regression plus a random residual worth.

* Interpolation and extrapolation: an estimated worth from different observations from the identical particular person.

Imputation is widespread as a result of it’s conceptually easy and since the ensuing pattern has the identical variety of observations as the complete knowledge set. It may be very tempting when listwise deletion eliminates a big proportion of the information set. However it has limitations. Some imputation strategies end in biased parameter estimates, similar to means and correlations, except the information are MCAR. The bias is commonly worse than with complete-case evaluation, particularly for imply imputation. The extent of the bias will depend on many components, together with the lacking knowledge mechanism, the proportion of the information that’s lacking, and the knowledge obtainable within the knowledge set.

Furthermore, all of those imputation strategies underestimate customary errors. Because the imputed observations are themselves estimates, their values have corresponding random error. However your software program would not know that, so it overlooks the additional supply of error, leading to too-small customary errors and too-small p-values. And though imputation is conceptually easy, it’s tough to do properly in follow. So it isn’t excellent, however would possibly suffice in sure conditions.

And now I wish to invite you to study extra about tips on how to cope with lacking knowledge in one in every of my FREE month-to-month Evaluation Issue Teleseminars: “Approaches to Lacking Knowledge: The Good, the Dangerous, and the Unthinkable.” Go to Data Observability for Azure Data Lake to get began as we speak.


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