There is a statistical technique known as the Friedman test where it is legitimate to perfom an analysis of variance (ANOVA) using the combined individual sets of rankings (not shown) as the responses. The results for this data are shown below
(10 "Item"s, 21 "County"s. Note: Because of the nature of rankings, it always results in a Sum of Squares (SS) of zero for "Item"):
Analysis of Variance for Ranks
Source DF SS MS F P
Item 9 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.000
County 20 1702.80 85.14 2.56 0.001
Error 180 5997.20 33.32
Total 209 7700.00
For statistical interpretation, Conover (reference below) uses the actual Ftest above for "County" (F = 2.56, p = 0.001).
[Informational aside: Conover claims this to be superior to the more commonly used Chisquare statistic given in most computer packages, which can be approximated from the ANOVA by multiplying SS for "T" (the number of things being compared, in this case "County" (21)) by the factor "12 / [T x (T+1)]," with (T1) degrees of freedom.
For this example, the result is a Chisquare of [12/(21 x 22)] x 1702.8 = 44.23 with 20 degrees of freedom (p = 0.0014)].
Technicalities such as this aside, there is little doubt that there is indeed a difference amongst counties. Now...which ones?
Since the Ftest is significant  and only because it is significant  one could calculate what is called the least significant difference (LSD) between any two summed scores (In this case, ~51) or the more conservative difference based on what is known as the interquartile range (In this case, ~91). Given these, the summed rankings can be "discussed" (with lots of "human" variation) [and please notice that I'm purposely not showing you how to calculate these], or, preferably (Hint, hint)...
...one can use Analysis of Means, resulting in the 2nd graph in the ATTACHED Word document [Overall p = 0.05 and p = 0.01 reference lines drawn in (See Ott (below)) or one could just use "three" standard deviations (a future newsletter), resulting in 110 +/ 55].
[All of these calculations are based on the standard deviation of the sum of the 10 rankings, which derives from the MSerror term from the ANOVA. It equals, given "k" items summed:
Square root(k x MSerror)] = Square root(10 x 33.32) = 18.25)
(Aren't you glad you asked?)]
Given this graph (attachment), the statistical interpretation would be that there is one outstanding county (#1), one county indeed "below" average in performance (#21), and the other 19 counties are, based on this data...indistinguishable!
Previous discussions involving this data involved a lot of talk
about "quartiles" and "above" and "below" average; however, when I presented this analysis to the involved executives as an
alternative, it was met with...a stunned silence...and defensiveness, which I will address next time in a more "philosophical" newsletter  once again motivating the need for having NO choice but to look at data this way.
Until then...
Kind regards,
Davis
Conover WJ. Practical Nonparametric Statistics, 3rd Edition.
John Wiley & Sons, 1998.
Ott ER, Schilling EG, and Neubauer DV. Process Quality Control:
Troubleshooting and Interpretation of Data, 4th edition. ASQ
Quality Press, 2005.
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P.S. For those of you wanting some pointers on "deeper" statistical analysis
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This example is discussed thoroughly in Appendix 8A of my book, Data Sanity: A Quantum Leap to Unprecedented Results. In that Appendix, I also demonstrate other deeper analyses...that are not for the fainthearted. But, that's OK: The rest of the book (and my general approach) espouses using simple graphs and trusting your intuition rather than "turn the crank" (mysterious) statistical analyses done by packages!
[If you have any problems with this link, please contact either me(davis@dbharmony.com) or my publishing contact, Marilee Aust
(maust@mgma.com) She's wonderful to deal with!]. Some foreign
subscribers have had trouble entering their information, so Marilee told me to tell you that she is delighted to help anyone on an individual basis. She has already dispatched copies to Seattle, Fargo, England, Wales, Australia, and New Zealand.]
It is also now available through Amazon.com (with free shipping!):
(Thanks, Dr. Steve Tarzynski, Dean Spitzer, and Adam Lennox for your
very kind reviews).
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