Chapter 7

Summarizing It All


Working with things great and small

Understanding symmetry, peaks, and plateaus

Getting descriptive

Serving up statistics on a tray

Measures of central tendency and variability are excellent ways of summarizing a set of scores. They aren’t the only ways, though. Central tendency and variability make up a subset of descriptive statistics. Some descriptive statistics are intuitive — like count, maximum, and minimum. Some are not — like skewness and kurtosis.

In this chapter, I discuss descriptive statistics, and I show you Excel’s capabilities for calculating them and visualizing them.

Counting Out

The most fundamental descriptive statistic I can imagine is the number of scores in a set of scores. Excel offers five ways to determine that number. Yes, five ways. Count them.


Given an array of cells, COUNT gives you the amount of those cells that contain numerical data. Figure 7-1 shows that I’ve entered a group of scores, selected a cell to hold COUNT’s result, and opened the Function Arguments dialog box for COUNT.


FIGURE 7-1: The Function Arguments dialog box for COUNT, showing multiple arguments.

Here are the steps:

  1. Enter your data into the worksheet and select a cell for the result.

    I entered data into columns C, D, and E to show off COUNT’s multi-argument capability. I selected ...

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