The degrees of freedom describes the shape of the t-distribution. The larger the degrees of freedom, the more closely the distribution approximates the normal model.

When modeling x̄ using the t-distribution, use df = n− 1.

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The t-distribution allows us greater flexibility than the normal distribution when analyzing numerical data. In practice, it’s common to use statistical software, such as R, Python, or SAS for these analyses. Alternatively, a graphing calculator or a ttt-table may be used; the t-table is similar to the normal distribution table, and it may be found in Appendix C.2, which includes usage instructions and examples for those who wish to use this option. No matter the approach you choose, apply your method using the examples below to confirm your working understanding of the t-distribution.

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