Technical Report // Universität Dortmund, SFB 475 Komplexitätsreduktion in Multivariaten Datenstrukturen 2003,39
Most standard statistical methods treat numerical data as if they were real (infinitenumber- of-decimal-places) observations. The issue of quantization or digital resolution is recognized by engineers and metrologists, but is largely ignored by statisticians and can render standard statistical methods inappropriate and misleading. This article discusses some of the difficulties of interpretation and corresponding difficulties of inference arising in even very simple measurement contexts, once the presence of quantization is admitted. It then argues (using the simple case of confidence interval estimation based on a quantized random sample from a normal distribution as a vehicle) for the use of statistical methods based on rounded data likelihood functions as an effective way of dealing with the issue.