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Head First Statistics by Dawn Griffiths

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Chapter 2. Measuring Central Tendency: The Middle Way

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Sometimes you just need to get to the heart of the matter.

It can be difficult to see patterns and trends in a big pile of figures, and finding the average is often the first step towards seeing the bigger picture. With averages at your disposal, you’ll be able to quickly find the most representative values in your data and draw important conclusions. In this chapter, we’ll look at several ways to calculate one of the most important statistics in town—mean, median, and mode—and you’ll start to see how to effectively summarize data as concisely and usefully as possible.

Welcome to the Health Club

The Statsville Health Club prides itself on its ability to find the perfect class for everyone. Whether you want to learn how to swim, practice martial arts, or get your body into shape, they have just the right class for you.

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The staff at the health club have noticed that their customers seem happiest when they’re in a class with people their own age, and happy customers always come back for more. It seems that the key to success for the health club is to work out what a typical age is for each of their classes, and one way of doing this is to calculate the average. The average gives a representative age for each class, which the health club ...

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