Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Stuck in the Middle with AVERAGE, MEDIAN, and MODE**

The mean, median, and mode are sometimes called
measures of central

tendency
because they serve to summarize a data sample in a single statistic.

Get started! These steps create three results in your worksheet, using the

AVERAGE, MEDIAN, and MODE functions:

1. Enter a list of numerical values.

Any mix of numbers will do.

2. Position the cursor in the cell where you want the
mean
to appear.

3. Enter
=AVERAGE(
to start the function.

4. Drag the pointer over the list, or enter the address of the range.

5. Enter a
) to end the AVERAGE function.

6. Position the cursor in the cell where you want the
median
to appear.

7. Enter
=MEDIAN(
to start the function.

8. Drag the pointer over the list, or enter the address of the range.

9. Enter a
) to end the MEDIAN function.

10. Position the cursor in the cell where you want the
mode
to appear.

11. Enter
=MODE.SNGL(
to start the function.

12. Drag the pointer over the list, or enter the address of the range.

13. Enter a
) to end the MODE function.

Depending on the numbers you entered, the three results may be the same

(very unlikely!), or about the same, or quite different. The MODE function will

have returned #N/A if there were no repeating values in your data.

The mean is calculated using the AVERAGE function.

Imagine this: Three people use a new toothpaste for six months, and then

all go to the dentist. Two have no cavities. Hey, this toothpaste is great! The

third person has three cavities. Uh oh!

Person

Cavities

A

0

B

0

C

3

The average number of cavities for this group is 1. That is, if you’re using

the
mean
as the average. This doesn’t sound like a good toothpaste if, on

average, each person who used it got a cavity! On the other hand, both the