# Degrees of freedom

This is the number of independent comparisons that can be made between the members of a sample. It refers to the number of independent contributions to a sampling distribution (such as chi-square distribution). In a contingency table it is one less than the number of row categories multiplied by one less than the number of column categories; e.g. a 2 x 2 table comparing two groups for a dichotomous outcome, such as death, has one degree of freedom.