There are three measures of central tendency normally used when analysing a set of data, these include the mean, median and the mode (Day, 2010). In this essay, we will be discussing factors to consider when choosing the most appropriate measure of central tendency when analysing a set of data. Also, importance of variability and the difference between sample and population will be discussed.
Choosing a measure of central tendency
Choice of the best measure of central tendency to use when analysing data mostly depend on the data being analysed. Mean is the most used measure, it is particularly the best choice when the data to be analysed is continuous. However, there are situations when median and mode are preferred over the mean. Median is usually used when the data being analysed is skewed and have outliers. It is also preferred over the mean when there are small number of subjects (Day, 2010). Mode is the least used measure of central tendency, however, it is preferred over the other when describing discrete categorical data.
Variability is a measure used with a goal of measuring how spread out the scores are in a distribution. It is important as it serves as a descriptive measure where it helps measure how much scores are clustered together or spread out.it also as a vital component of inferential statistics measuring how accurately any individual ample is a representation of the whole population (Katal, Wazid,& Goudar, 2013).
Sample and population
A sample is a group of participants in a study. They are actively involved in the study. On the other hand, population is the broader group from where the samples are taken and whom the results of the study are intended to be generalised. A sample have many advantages when used as it lowers the cost of the study and also saves on time (Hanlon, & Larget, 2011).
Measure of central tendency and variability are the basic descriptive statistics for any given set of data. It is therefore of great importance to choose the best measure of central tendency when analysing any set of data, It is also of great essence to know when to use a sample or population.
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