Mean Pros and Cons

When you come across a large data set, whether it’s survey results or just a homework problem, there are several ways you can try and describe the important aspects of the set. Each of these statistical values have pros and cons. This is a 3 part series highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly of mean, median, and mode.

Mean Pros and ConsHere are links to the other two:

Median Pros and Cons

Mode Pros and Cons

Mean Pros and Cons

All statistical calculations on a large set of numbers involves some work. This is where there is some trade off. Typically the ones that are the most meaningful take the most work. This is true, especially for the mean.

Mean Pros

  • You do NOT have to put the data in order.
  • Mean is a very descriptive value.
  • Represents what each value would be if they were all equal.

Mean Cons

  • It is one large calculation, often giving you a decimal number.
  • You must count all the numbers in the set.
  • Can be skewed due to an outlier.

Overall finding the mean involves the most work. The best news is that it is the most descriptive. It is so descriptive that it is referred to by many people using different terms, like average, and arithmetic mean. This is a common descriptive measure that you have probably seen or used before even if you don’t realize it.

Mean finds the average, and this is very helpful. To put this another way, if all data entries were equal, what would they look like? This is the mean value.

Mean is used in many walks of life, and is a very helpful value from many angles. This article just showed you the pros and cons of mean, but for a video AND article tutorial on how to find the mean check out this article.

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