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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Point-biserial correlation: Interval estimation, hypothesis testing, meta-analysis, and sample size determination.

  • Author(s): Bonett, Douglas G
  • et al.

The point-biserial correlation is a commonly used measure of effect size in two-group designs. New estimators of point-biserial correlation are derived from different forms of a standardized mean difference. Point-biserial correlations are defined for designs with either fixed or random group sample sizes and can accommodate unequal variances. Confidence intervals and standard errors for the point-biserial correlation estimators are derived from the sampling distributions for pooled-variance and separate-variance versions of a standardized mean difference. The proposed point-biserial confidence intervals can be used to conduct directional two-sided tests, equivalence tests, directional non-equivalence tests, and non-inferiority tests. A confidence interval for an average point-biserial correlation in meta-analysis applications performs substantially better than the currently used methods. Sample size formulas for estimating a point-biserial correlation with desired precision and testing a point-biserial correlation with desired power are proposed. R functions are provided that can be used to compute the proposed confidence intervals and sample size formulas.

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