#### Abstract

This manuscript presents some general comments about the Wilcoxon rank sum test. Even the most casual reader will gather that I am not too impressed with the scientific usefulness of the Wilcoxon test. However, the actual motivation is more to illustrate differences between parametric, semiparametric, and nonparametric (distribution-free) inference, and to use this example to illustrate how many misconceptions have been propagated through a focus on (semi)parametric probability models as the basis for evaluating commonly used statistical analysis models. The document itself arose as a teaching tool for courses aimed at graduate students in biostatistics and statistics, with parts of the document originally written for applied biostatistics classes and parts written for a course in mathematical statistics. Hence, some of the material is also meant to provide an illustration of common methods of deriving moments of distributions, etc.

#### Disciplines

Biostatistics

#### Suggested Citation

Emerson, Scott S., "Some Observations on the Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test" (August 2011). *UW Biostatistics Working Paper Series.* Working Paper 380.

http://biostats.bepress.com/uwbiostat/paper380