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st: Kendall's tau


From   cthompson@dfpm.utah.edu
To   Statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: Kendall's tau
Date   Thu, 13 Nov 2003 13:56:47 -0700

Greetings STATAlisters...
I have a question that isn't necessarily related to the syntax 
of a command but rather, the appropriateness of the statistic.  
As I understand Kendall's tau (otherwise known as Kendalls rank 
correlation coefficient), it is most appropriate for ordered 
contingency table data; that is, the two variables need to 
assume some sort of sequential ordering.  My query is this:  if 
one of my variables is ordered (normal-->moderate-->severe) and 
the other is continuous (e.g. proportion of total caloric 
intake from saturated fat), can I use Kendall's tau to 
ascertain some degree of correlation??  Note that my dataset is 
small so I am hesitant to employ a parametric test and I want 
to know how much the two variables are correlated, not simply 
the existence of an association/distribution equality (K-W 
test).  I understand there is an issue of the SJ/STB that 
addresses an issue similar to this, however, I do not have 
access to the journal.  
Any help is much appreciated!
Clint Thompson
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