Sunday, March 10, 2013
When is the mean the best measure of central tendency? When is the median the best measure of central tendency?
Central tendency relates to the way in which quantitative data tend to cluster around some value. Central tendency has three measures, which is any of a number of ways of specifying central value. The mean is one of the three measures of central tendency, which is best measure when the distribution of data is continuous and symmetrical. It is the ordinary average, the sum of all the scores divided by the number of scores (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2009). Therefore to find the mean one can add six numbers then divided by six, which represents the amount of numbers added. The median, an alternative to the mean is another of three measures of central tendency, which is the best measure when data is skewed.
To find the median one must line up all the scores from lowest to highest, then add 1 to the number of scores and dividing by 2, and count up to the middle score or scores (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2009). The mode is the last of the three measures of central tendency, which is the most frequently occurring score.
Aron, A., Aron, E. N., & Coups, E. (2009). Statistics for psychology (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.