Data_Sheet_1_How to Address Non-normality: A Taxonomy of Approaches, Reviewed, and Illustrated.pdf

The linear model often serves as a starting point for applying statistics in psychology. Often, formal training beyond the linear model is limited, creating a potential pedagogical gap because of the pervasiveness of data non-normality. We reviewed 61 recently published undergraduate and graduate textbooks on introductory statistics and the linear model, focusing on their treatment of non-normality. This review identified at least eight distinct methods suggested to address non-normality, which we organize into a new taxonomy according to whether the approach: (a) remains within the linear model, (b) changes the data, and (c) treats normality as informative or as a nuisance. Because textbook coverage of these methods was often cursory, and methodological papers introducing these approaches are usually inaccessible to non-statisticians, this review is designed to be the happy medium. We provide a relatively non-technical review of advanced methods which can address non-normality (and heteroscedasticity), thereby serving a starting point to promote best practice in the application of the linear model. We also present three empirical examples to highlight distinctions between these methods' motivations and results. The paper also reviews the current state of methodological research in addressing non-normality within the linear modeling framework. It is anticipated that our taxonomy will provide a useful overview and starting place for researchers interested in extending their knowledge in approaches developed to address non-normality from the perspective of the linear model.