Normalization

Adjusting a series (vector) of values (typically representing a set of measurements, e.g., a variable storing heights of people, represented in inches) according to some transformation function in order to make them comparable with some specific point of reference (for example, a unit of length or a sum). For example, dividing these values by 2.54 will produce metric measurements of the height. Normalization of data is:

  1. required when the incompatibility of the measurement units across variables may affect the results (e.g., in calculations based on cross products) without carrying any interpretable information, and

  2. recommended whenever the final reports could benefit from expressing the results in specific meaningful/compatible units (e.g., reaction time data will be easier to interpret when converted into milliseconds from the CPU cycles of different computers that were used to measure RT's - as originally registered in a medical experiment).

Note that this term is unrelated to the term normal distribution; see also Standardization.