Tissue water diffusion is non-Gaussian and the expressions used to calculate diffusion parameters are approximations which introduce systematic errors dependent on the maximum diffusion encoding, diffusion time, etc. This study aimed at characterizing biases in estimates of both apparent diffusion coefficient and kurtosis, and determines their dependence on these parameters. Similar to the approach of several previous studies, Taylor expansion of the diffusion signal was used to calculate biases. Predicted errors were compared with data from one volunteer. Predicted errors agreed well with the measured errors and also the published diffusion tensor imaging measurements. The equations derived predict biases in measured diffusion parameters and explain much of the discrepancy between measurements obtained with different acquisition protocols. The equations may also be used to choose appropriate diffusion encoding for diffusion weighted, tensor, and kurtosis imaging.