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Descriptive Statistics

Data are the actual values of the variable. They may be numbers or they may be words. Datum is a single value.

Two words that come up often in statistics are mean and proportion. If you were to take three exams in your math classes and obtain scores of 86, 75, and 92, you would calculate your mean score by adding the three exam scores and dividing by three (your mean score would be 84.3 to one decimal place). If, in your math class, there are 40 students and 22 are men and 18 are women, then the proportion of men students is and the proportion of women students is . Mean and

proportion are discussed in more detail in later chapters.

NOTE

The words ” mean” and ” average” are often used interchangeably. The substitution of one word for the other is common practice. The technical term is “arithmetic mean,” and “average” is technically a center location. However, in practice among non-statisticians, “average” is commonly accepted for “arithmetic mean.”

Example 1.1

Determine what the key terms refer to in the following study. We want to know the average (mean) amount of money first year college students spend at ABC College on school supplies that do not include books. We randomly survey 100 first year students at the college. Three of those students spent $150, $200, and $225, respectively.

Solution 1.1

The population is all first year students attending ABC College this term.

The sample could be all students enrolled in one section of a beginning statistics course at ABC College (although this sample may not represent the entire population).

CHAPTER 1 | SAMPLING AND DATA 7

The parameter is the average (mean) amount of money spent (excluding books) by first year college students at ABC College this term.

The statistic is the average (mean) amount of money spent (excluding books) by first year college students in the sample.

The variable could be the amount of money spent (excluding books) by one first year student. Let X = the amount of money spent (excluding books) by one first year student attending ABC College.

The data are the dollar amounts spent by the first year students. Examples of the data are $150, $200, and $225.

1.1 Determine what the key terms refer to in the following study. We want to know the average (mean) amount of money spent on school uniforms each year by families with children at Knoll Academy. We randomly survey 100 families with children in the school. Three of the families spent $65, $75, and $95, respectively.