Missing data in educational research: A review of reporting practices and suggestions for improvement

James L. Peugh, Craig K. Enders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

492 Scopus citations


Missing data analyses have received considerable recent attention in the methodological literature, and two "modern" methods, multiple imputation and maximum likelihood estimation, are recommended. The goals of this article are to (a) provide an overview of missing-data theory, maximum likelihood estimation, and multiple imputation; (b) conduct a methodological review of missing-data reporting practices in 23 applied research journals; and (c) provide a demonstration of multiple imputation and maximum likelihood estimation using the Longitudinal Study of American Youth data. The results indicated that explicit discussions of missing data increased substantially between 1999 and 2003, but the use of maximum likelihood estimation or multiple imputation was rare; the studies relied almost exclusively on listwise and pairwise deletion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-556
Number of pages32
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004



  • EM algorithm
  • Maximum likelihood estimation
  • Missing data
  • Multiple imputation
  • NORM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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