Runs Test

DEFINITION of 'Runs Test'

A statistical procedure that examines whether a string of data is occurring randomly given a specific distribution. The runs test analyzes the occurrence of similar events that are separated by events that are different.

BREAKING DOWN 'Runs Test'

For example, a list of truly random single-digit numbers should only have a few instances where a sequence of numbers is ascending numerically. However, in many cases, it is difficult to assert the randomness of data in which there are thousands of sequences in a string of data, so the runs test was created as an objective method of determining randomness.

The runs test model is important in determining whether an outcome of a trial is truly random, especially in cases where random versus sequential data has implications for subsequent theories and analysis.