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Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive Statistics

This week explores the many ways that you can describe data, or use descriptive statistics, as the first step in your analyses. Descriptive statistics provide an overview of the basic features of a data set; it may be helpful to think of descriptive statistics as a simple summary of your data. But these simple summaries are vitally important! Think about a class that you have taken that began as a struggle, though eventually, you mastered the material. Do you agree that your score on the first assignment or test was not the best representation of your potential? Instead, you would agree that your average score, or the scores that you received most often, or even your range of scores are better representations of your success in that course.

Understanding the average, most common, and middle responses are integral to recognizing both your sample and the larger population. You will now practice calculating measures of central tendency and making inferences from those calculations. As you work through this assignment, also think about what measures of central tendency might be relevant to your research interests.

To get started, download the assignment template in this week’s resources. Type your responses into the Word document.

The completed assignment should address all of the assignment requirements, exhibit evidence of concept knowledge, and demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the content presented in the course. The writing should integrate scholarly resources, reflect academic expectations and current APA standards, and adhere to Northcentral University’s Academic Integrity Policy.

The template is attatched!!

Descriptive statistics allow you to understand many variables holistically. This week, you will learn about and calculate important descriptive statistics, such as the measures of central tendency and dispersion.

Figure 5. Median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers in the United States in 2018

After reading the assigned chapters, you will begin to understand the value that descriptive statistics have in comprehending the world at large. For example, think about the last time you bought an item online. On some retail websites, there are often several, similar items available—how do you choose which one to buy? Most people consult the ratings that other shoppers have left for the items you are considering. But rather than ask buyers to sort through hundreds of ratings, retailers will average, or present the mean, of the ratings to allow you to quickly determine how well items have met previous shoppers’ expectations. Savvy shoppers will not stop after reviewing this single score; they will often dig deeper to examine the range of scores (what was the lowest rating? What was the highest?), how frequently the ratings appear, and which rating was given most often (mode). They may also consider the middle rating (median) to get a better sense of whether an item will work (Bennett, Briggs, & Triola, 2017).

Why do you consider each of these measures of central tendency? At the end of the week, you will better understand how the mean, median, and mode of a data set can help shape your understanding of what people consider to be “average.”


Bennett, J. O., Briggs, W. L., & Triola, M. F. (2017). Statistical reasoning for everyday life. Boston, MA: Pearson-Addison Wesley.

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