About this lesson
Minitab is the most commonly used statistical application within the Lean Six Sigma community. This lesson provides a brief orientation concerning how to navigate through Minitab and shows how to use Minitab to calculate descriptive statistics for a data set. Minitab will be used in future lessons.
Download this lesson’s related exercise files.Basic Statistics in Minitab.xlsx
9.3 KB Basic Statistics in Minitab - Solution.docx
Basic Statistics in Minitab
Minitab is the most commonly used statistical application within the Lean Six Sigma community. This lesson provides a brief orientation concerning how to navigate through Minitab and shows how to use Minitab to calculate descriptive statistics for a data set.
When to use
While it is possible to do statistical analysis by hand, virtually everyone uses a software application to actually do the math. Minitab is commonly used for SPC data analysis and chart generation. It is easy to use, being very compatible with Microsoft Excel.
With respect to statistical analysis for Lean Six Sigma projects, Minitab is able to do everything Excel can do and it can do much more. Using Minitab is similar in many respects to using Excel. The menu structure operates in a similar fashion. The data can be copied and pasted between the two applications. One caution, Minitab always organizes data by columns with row headings. The Minitab screen has a spreadsheet window that operates similar to Excel. It also has a Session Window that provides tabular results of analyses. And for some analyses, it will provide graphs in a separate window.
Determining descriptive statistics for a data set is quite simple.
- Ensure your data is loaded into the spreadsheet portion of Minitab.
- Select the “Stat” menu.
- Select “Basic Statistics” from that menu.
- Select “Descriptive Statistics” from that menu.
At this point the descriptive statistics entry panel appears. Before continuing, let me explain how to select data for Minitab to analyse. This applies to any entry panel or form within Minitab. Place your cursor in the entry window from which you are selecting data. This will ensure that all available data columns show in the left most window of the form. Then highlight the column you want and click on the “Select” button. Minitab will move that column from the list of available columns into the entry window you are filing. You cannot directly type in the column, it must be selected in the manner described above. Let’s continue with descriptive statistics in Minitab.
- Choose the variable by analysis by highlighting the column name with your data and clicking on Select. The column name will move to the Variable window.
- Click on the Statistics button and choose from the menu the items you would like in your list of descriptive statistics. I suggest mean, median, standard deviation skewness, and kurtosis.
- Click on the graphs button and select the type of graph you would like. I suggest “Histogram of data, with Normal Curve”.
- Select OK and the data and graphs will display.
Hints & tips
- Feel free to vary the statistics to include those you find meaningful for your analysis. For instance if creating box plots , be sure to include the First Quartile and Third Quartile.
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