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Averages
In statistics, an average is de�ned as the number that measures the central
tendency of a given set of numbers. There are a number of di�erent
averages including but not limited to: mean, median, mode and range.

Mean

Mean is what most people commonly refer to as an average. The mean


refers to the number you obtain when you sum up a given set of numbers
and then divide this sum by the total number in the set. Mean is also
referred to more correctly as arithmetic mean.

Given a set of n elements from a 1 to an

The mean is found by adding up all the a's and then dividing by the total
number, n

This can be generalized by the formula below:

Mean Example Problems

Example 1
Find the mean of the set of numbers below

Solution

The �rst step is to count how many numbers there are in the set, which we
shall call n

The next step is to add up all the numbers in the set

The last step is to �nd the actual mean by dividing the sum by n

Mean can also be found for grouped data, but before we see an example
on that, let us �rst de�ne frequency.

Frequency in statistics means the same as in everyday use of the word. The
frequency an element in a set refers to how many of that element there are
in the set. The frequency can be from 0 to as many as possible. If you're
told that the frequency an element a is 3, that means that there are 3 as in
the set.

Example 2

Find the mean of the set of ages in the table below

Age (years) Frequency

10 0

11 8
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13 2

14 7

Solution

The �rst step is to �nd the total number of ages, which we shall call n. Since
it will be tedious to count all the ages, we can �nd n by adding up the
frequencies:

Next we need to �nd the sum of all the ages. We can do this in two ways:
we can add up each individual age, which will be a long and tedious
process; or we can use the frequency to make things faster.

Since we know that the frequency represents how many of that particular
age there are, we can just multiply each age by its frequency, and then add
up all these products.

The last step is to �nd the mean by dividing the sum by n

Population Mean vs Sample Mean

In the Introduction to Statistics section, we de�ned a population and a


sample whereby a sample is a part of a population.

In statistics there are two kinds of means: population mean and sample
mean. A population mean is the true mean of the entire population of the
data set while a sample mean is the mean of a small sample of the
population. These di�erent means appear frequently in both statistics and
probability and should not be confused with each other.

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while sample mean is represented by x̄ (pronounced x bar). The total
number of elements in a population is represented by N while the number
of elements in a sample is represented by n. This leads to an adjustment in
the formula we gave above for calculating the mean.

The sample mean is commonly used to estimate the population mean


when the population mean is unknown. This is because they have the same
expected value.

Median

The median is de�ned as the number in the middle of a given set of


numbers arranged in order of increasing magnitude. When given a set of
numbers, the median is the number positioned in the exact middle of the
list when you arrange the numbers from the lowest to the highest. The
median is also a measure of average. In higher level statistics, median is
used as a measure of dispersion. The median is important because it
describes the behavior of the entire set of numbers.

Example 3

Find the median in the set of numbers given below

Solution

From the de�nition of median, we should be able to tell that the �rst step is
to rearrange the given set of numbers in order of increasing magnitude, i.e.
from the lowest to the highest

Then we inspect the set to �nd that number which lies in the exact middle.

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Lets try another example to emphasize something interesting that often
occurs when solving for the median.

Example 4

Find the median of the given data

Solution

As in the previous example, we start o� by rearranging the data in order


from the smallest to the largest.

Next we inspect the data to �nd the number that lies in the exact middle.

We can see from the above that we end up with two numbers (4 and 5) in
the middle. We can solve for the median by �nding the mean of these two
numbers as follows:

Mode

The mode is de�ned as the element that appears most frequently in a


given set of elements. Using the de�nition of frequency given above, mode
can also be de�ned as the element with the largest frequency in a given
data set.

For a given data set, there can be more than one mode. As long as those
elements all have the same frequency and that frequency is the highest,
they are all the modal elements of the data set.

Example 5
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Find the Mode of the following data set.

Solution

Mode = 3 and 15

Mode for Grouped Data


As we saw in the section on data, grouped data is divided into classes. We
have de�ned mode as the element which has the highest frequency in a
given data set. In grouped data, we can �nd two kinds of mode: the Modal
Class, or class with the highest frequency and the mode itself, which we
calculate from the modal class using the formula below.

where

L is the lower class limit of the modal class

f1 is the frequency of the modal class

f0 is the frequency of the class before the modal class in the frequency table

f2 is the frequency of the class after the modal class in the frequency table

h is the class interval of the modal class

Example 6

Find the modal class and the actual mode of the data set below

Number Frequency

1-3 7

4-6 6

7-9 4

10 - 12 2

13 - 15 2

16 - 18 8

19 - 21 1

22 - 24 2

25 - 27 3

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Solution

Modal class = 10 - 12

where

L = 10

f1 = 9

f0 = 4

f2 = 2

h=3

therefore,

Solving the above using the order of operations:

Range

The range is de�ned as the di�erence between the highest and lowest
number in a given data set.

Example 7

Find the range of the data set below

Solution

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