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Summarising data

Once the data has been collected, it must be organised in a manner that allows for the information to be extracted most efficiently. For this reason it is useful to be able to summarise the data set by calculating a few quantities that give information about how the data values are spread and about the central values in the data set. Other methods of summarising and representing data will be covered in grade 11.

Measures of central tendency

Mean or average

The mean, (also known as arithmetic mean), is simply the arithmetic average of a group of numbers (or data set) and is shown using the bar symbol ¯ . So the mean of the variable x is x ¯ pronounced "x-bar". The mean of a set of values is calculated by adding up all the values in the set and dividing by the number of items in that set. The mean is calculated from the raw, ungrouped data.


The mean of a data set, x , denoted by x ¯ , is the average of the data values, and is calculated as:

x ¯ = sum of all values number of all values = x 1 + x 2 + x 3 + ... + x n n

Method: Calculating the mean

  1. Find the total of the data values in the data set.
  2. Count how many data values there are in the data set.
  3. Divide the total by the number of data values.

What is the mean of x = { 10 , 20 , 30 , 40 , 50 } ?

  1. 10 + 20 + 30 + 40 + 50 = 150
  2. There are 5 values in the data set.

  3. 150 ÷ 5 = 30
  4. the mean of the data set x = { 10 , 20 , 30 , 40 , 50 } is 30.



The median of a set of data is the data value in the central position, when the data set has been arranged from highest to lowest or from lowest to highest. There are an equal number of data values on either side of the median value.

The median is calculated from the raw, ungrouped data, as follows.

Method: Calculating the median

  1. Order the data from smallest to largest or from largest to smallest.
  2. Count how many data values there are in the data set.
  3. Find the data value in the central position of the set.

What is the median of { 10 , 14 , 86 , 2 , 68 , 99 , 1 } ?

  1. 1,2,10,14,68,86,99

  2. There are 7 points in the data set.

  3. The central position of the data set is 4.

  4. 14 is in the central position of the data set.

  5. 14 is the median of the data set { 1 , 2 , 10 , 14 , 68 , 86 , 99 } .

This example has highlighted a potential problem with determining the median. It is very easy to determine the median of a data set with an odd number of data values, but what happens when there is an even number of data values in the data set?

When there is an even number of data values, the median is the mean of the two middle points.

Finding the central position of a data set

An easy way to determine the central position or positions for any ordered data set is to take the total number of data values, add 1, and then divide by 2. If the number you get is a whole number, then that is the central position. If the number you get is a fraction, take the two whole numbers on either side of the fraction, as the positions of the data values that must be averaged to obtain the median.

Questions & Answers

how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
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Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
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In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
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Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Maths grade 10 rought draft. OpenStax CNX. Sep 29, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11363/1.1
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