Methods of Fitting a Straight Line to Data: Examples in Water Resources

Water Resources Bulletin
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Three methods of fitting straight lines to data are described and their purposes are discussed and contrasted in terms of their applicability in various water resources contexts. The three methods are ordinary least squares (OLS), least normal squares (LNS), and the line of organic correlation (OC). In all three methods the parameters are based on moment statistics of the data. When estimation of an individual value is the objective, OLS is the most appropriate. When estimation of many values is the objective and one wants the set of estimates to have the appropriate variance, then OC is most appropriate. When one wishes to describe the relationship between two variables and measurement error is unimportant, then OC is most appropriate. Where the error is important in descriptive problems or in calibration problems, then structural analysis techniques may be most appropriate. Finally, if the problem is one of describing some geographic trajectory, then LNS is most appropriate.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Methods of Fitting a Straight Line to Data: Examples in Water Resources
Series title Water Resources Bulletin
DOI 10.1111/j.1752-1688.1984.tb04753.x
Volume 20
Issue 5
Year Published 1984
Language English
Publisher American Water Resources Association
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Water Resources Bulletin
First page 705
Last page 711
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