A measure of central tendency is a statistical measure used to describe the center or typical value of a dataset. It provides a single value that represents the “typical” value around which the data points tend to cluster. The three most common measures of central tendency are the mean, median, and mode.
- Mean: The mean, also known as the average, is calculated by summing all the values in a dataset and dividing the sum by the total number of values. It is sensitive to extreme values and is commonly used for datasets with a normal distribution.
- Median: The median is the middle value in a dataset when the data points are arranged in ascending or descending order. If the dataset has an odd number of values, the median is the middle value. If the dataset has an even number of values, the median is the average of the two middle values. The median is less affected by outliers compared to the mean and is often used for skewed distributions.
- Mode: The mode is the value that appears most frequently in a dataset. It represents the most common observation or category. Unlike the mean and median, the mode can be used for both numerical and categorical data. A dataset can have one mode (unimodal), two modes (bimodal), or more than two modes (multimodal).
These measures of central tendency provide different perspectives on the typical value of a dataset and are used depending on the nature of the data and the research question at hand. It is important to choose the appropriate measure based on the characteristics of the dataset and the purpose of the analysis.