When we want to know averages and middle aspects of our data, we use measures of central tendency.

Measures of central tendency are described with three primary functions:

  • Mean
  • Median
  • Mode

The mean is simply the average of a dataset.

The median is the middle point of the dataset.

The mode is the most common value in a dataset.

Lacking the Shape of Data

While the Measurements of Central Tendency are useful, they lack in their ability to show the data’s shape or spread. On these measurements alone, we don’t know the limits of the data.

Influenced by Extremes (Outliers)

As a mean is an average, if we had a data set of values:

22, 23,43,55,120,18,29,50,20

In the above data, we’ll get a mean of 42. The outlier value of 120 has skewed the mean.

However, the Median organizes the set from least to greatest and finds the middle value, in the above case it’s 29.

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