Residual Analysis

Residual Analysis is a fundamental technique used in data science and statistical modeling to assess the goodness-of-fit of a regression model and to identify patterns or trends in the model’s residuals. Residuals are the differences between the observed values and the predicted values from the regression model. Analyzing residuals helps to validate the assumptions of the regression model and detect any systematic errors or patterns that may indicate deficiencies in the model.

In the below PDF we discuss about Residual Analysis in detail in simple language, Hope this will help in better understanding.

Purpose of Residual Analysis:

1.  Model Evaluation:

Residual analysis helps assess the goodness-of-fit of the regression model to the data. By examining the pattern and distribution of residuals, data scientists can determine if the model adequately captures the underlying relationships between the predictor variables and the response variable.

2. Assumptions Checking:

Residual analysis is used to validate the assumptions of linear regression models, including linearity, homoscedasticity (constant variance of residuals), normality of residuals, and independence of errors. Deviations from these assumptions may indicate model inadequacy or violation of assumptions.

Techniques for Residual Analysis:

  • Residual Plot: Plotting residuals against the predicted values or predictor variables helps visualize the relationship between the residuals and the predictors. A random scatter of points around zero suggests that the linear regression model is appropriate.
  • Histogram and Q-Q Plot: Histogram and quantile-quantile (Q-Q) plots of residuals can assess the normality assumption. Residuals should ideally follow a normal distribution, which is evident from a bell-shaped histogram and a straight line in the Q-Q plot.
  • Residuals vs. Fitted Values Plot: This plot helps identify patterns or trends in the residuals concerning the fitted values. A horizontal band of points with no discernible pattern indicates homoscedasticity, while a funnel-shaped pattern may suggest heteroscedasticity.
  • Durbin-Watson Test: This test assesses the presence of autocorrelation (dependence between residuals). A value of around 2 indicates no autocorrelation, while values significantly below or above 2 suggest positive or negative autocorrelation, respectively.
  • Shapiro-Wilk Test: This test examines the normality of residuals. A p-value greater than a chosen significance level (e.g., 0.05) suggests that the null hypothesis of normality is not rejected.


In Data Science, Residual analysis is a critical step in the data analysis process, providing valuable insights into the validity and assumptions of linear regression models. By conducting thorough residual analysis, data scientists can ensure the reliability and accuracy of their regression models, leading to more robust and interpretable results in data science applications.

Related Question

Residual analysis is a statistical technique used to assess the goodness of fit of a model by examining the difference between observed values and the values predicted by the model.

Residuals are calculated by subtracting the predicted values (obtained from the model) from the observed values in the dataset.

A positive residual suggests that the observed value is higher than the predicted value by the model.

A negative residual suggests that the observed value is lower than the predicted value by the model.

Residual analysis helps to verify the assumptions of regression models, such as linearity, constant variance, and normality of errors. It also helps to identify outliers and influential data points.


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