In connection to this popular question in CV, I was wondering which peer-reviewed papers / books could be used as references about using visual inspection of q-q plots etc. as compared to performing formal tests for assessing model assumptions? Are there any general references discussing and comparing these two methods, whatever the reason (whatever the test) you are performing them for?

The reasons I'm asking are:

  • I have been led to believe formal tests are not encouraged in many cases, and for several reasons. Therefore I have usually mostly not used them in my own work. However I'm still not 100% sure if I should altogether forfeit performing formal tests in every situation (probably not) or even in any situation.

  • Formal tests still seem to be the staple in my own field of biology, and I would like a handy and reliable source of reference both for myself and for my colleagues / pesky referees of the finer points of using vs. not using formal tests.

Considering the above two points, candidate references should perhaps not be too complicated, and probably also be quite generally applicable. However, I'm interested in both short and sweet (but reliable) papers aimed at a certain field (like biology), as well as more involved ones.

If referencing a book, please include chapter no. or page no.


1 Answer 1


I have myself have found some sources to this end, but not conclusively. Läärä (2009) [1] for example gives a list of reasons against tests of normality. If I recall some further sources can be found from inside that article. Similarly Zuur et al. (2010) [2] have something on this. I'm still looking for more sources though.

[1] http://www.annzool.net/PDF/anz46-free/anz46-138.pdf

[2] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2009.00001.x/abstract


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