Probability distribution theory, generalisations and applications of L-moments
In this thesis, we have studied L-moments and trimmed L-moments (TL-moments) which are both linear functions of order statistics. We have derived expressions for exact variances and covariances of sample L-moments and of sample TL-moments for any sample size n in terms of first and second-order moments of order statistics from small conceptual sample sizes, which do not depend on the actual sample size n. Moreover, we have established a theorem which characterises the normal distribution in terms of these second-order moments and the characterisation suggests a new test of normality. We have also derived a method of estimation based on TL-moments which gives zero weight to extreme observations. TL-moments have certain advantages over L-moments and method of moments. They exist whether or not the mean exists (for example the Cauchy distribution) and they are more robust to the presence of outliers. Also, we have investigated four methods for estimating the parameters of a symmetric lambda distribution: maximum likelihood method in the case of one parameter and L-moments, LQ-moments and TL-moments in the case of three parameters. The L-moments and TL-moments estimators are in closed form and simple to use, while numerical methods are required for the other two methods, maximum likelihood and LQ-moments. Because of the flexibility and the simplicity of the lambda distribution, it is useful in fitting data when, as is often the case, the underlying distribution is unknown. Also, we have studied the symmetric plotting position for quantile plot assuming a symmetric lambda distribution and conclude that the choice of the plotting position parameter depends upon the shape of the distribution. Finally, we propose exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) control charts to monitor the process mean and dispersion using the sample L-mean and sample L-scale and charts based on trimmed versions of the same statistics. The proposed control charts limits are less influenced by extreme observations than classical EWMA control charts, and lead to tighter limits in the presence of out-of-control observations.