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Measures of Central Tendency

and Dispersion
(Mean, Median, Mode and
Range)
Pages 24 - 27
Central Tendency
• This is a method of • The three common
calculating the average methods of finding the
of a set of data average are:

• The average represents 1. The MEAN


the centre of the
distribution 2. The MEDIAN

• These types of statistics 3. The MODE


are descriptive which
means they seek to
summarise the data
Central Tendency - MEAN
• MEAN = • Advantages:
• All measures in data set are
considered
sum of all values in the data set • Simple to calculate
• Widely understood
• Most reliable when the data set is
total no. of values in the data set large with no abnormally extreme
values
Write out the formula for calculating the • Limitations:
mean, see page 25.
• Influenced by extreme values in
the data set
Workout the mean of the following data
set. • Can yield a decimal figure – may
be inappropriate e.g. 5.1 persons
Depth of water in cm at intervals across a
river channel: 45, 36, 36, 28, 24, • Less reliable the smaller the
19, 16, 16, 12, 7, 3, 3, 3, 1. sample size
Mean – Group Data
• If data is collected in group form Channel Midpoint Frequency Midpoint
then the calculation for mean is a depth cm (x) (f) X
frequency
little different.
(f x)

• Data set for channel depth: 0-9 4.5 5 22.5

• 45, 36, 36, 28, 24, 19, 16, 16, 12, 10-19 14.5
7, 3, 3, 3, 1. 20-29 24.5
30-39 34.5

40-49 44.5
• To find the mean you take the
midpoint of the group and multiply
it by the frequency. n= Efx=
• You then find the sum of the final
column and divide it by the total
number in the data set. Mean = E f x
Mean = ____
n
Mean – Grouped Data - Answers
• If data is collected in group form Channel Midpoint Frequency Midpoint
depth cm X
then the calculation for mean is a (x) (f) frequency
little different. (f x)
0-9 4.5 5 22.5
10-19 14.5 4 58
20-29 24.5 2 29
• To find the mean you take the
midpoint of the group and multiply 30-39 34.5 2 69
it by the frequency. 40-49 44.5 1 44.5
• You then find the sum of the final
column and divide it by the total n = 14 E f x = 223
number in the data set.
Mean = E f x Mean = 223 = 15.9cm
n 14
Central Tendency - MEDIAN
• The median is the mid-point in a set of • Calculate the median of the data set below.
values when they are arranged in order of • 45
side. • 36
• 36
• If there is an even number of values in a • 28
data set then you must calculate the Median = 7th + 8th value
average of the two central values when in • 24
numerical rank. • 19 2
• 16
• Advantages: • 16 Median = 16 + 16
• The extreme values do not distort your • 12 2
average • 7
• Can be more reliable when there is • 3 Median = 16
‘bunching, or clustering of values in the data • 3
set.
• 3
• Limitations: • 1
• Mathematically less accurate as the actual
values do not form part of a calculation • What is the median group from the data
• Less reliable when the data set is small or table for channel depth?
when there are large gaps between the
values.
Central Tendency - MODE
• This is the value which occurs most • Calculate the mode of the data set below.
frequently in the data set. • 45
• 36
• A data set may have no mode. • 36
• 28 Mode = 3
• If a data set has one peak it is called
UNIMODAL, if it has two it is • 24
BIMODAL. • 19 Why is this not a
• 16 very good
• 16 method of calculating
• Advantages: • 12 central tendency in this
• Describes the overall shape of the • 7 particular set of data?
distribution e.g. unimodal or bimodal. • 3
• Fast and easy as no calculations. • 3
• 3
• Limitations: • 1
• Limited mathematical value as modal
value may represent extremes in the • What is the modal group from the data
data set. table for channel depth?
• Does not take into account the spread
of values within the data set.
Dispersion
• The MEAN summarises the ‘centre’ of a
distribution, but on its own it may not be • Calculate the range for channel depth in
informative enough. cm: 45, 36, 36, 28, 24, 19, 16, 16, 12, 7, 3,
• It is often useful to show how far 3, 3, 1.
figures differ from the average. This
measure is known as DISPERSION. • Highest – lowest = range
• 45 - 1 = 44cm
• Methods of showing dispersion:
1. Range • Advantages:
2. The inter-quartile range • Easy to calculate
3. Standard deviation • Shows the spread of data
• When used with the mean it shows the
In your exam you will only have to calculate the distribution of values around the mean –
range. statistically more useful

• Limitations:
• Range = the difference between the • Depends on only two values and ignores the
lowest and highest values in the data rest. A particular problem if extreme values
set. are atypical.
• The range tends to increase as the sample
size increases.