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An important characteristic of any set of data is the variation in the data. In some data sets, the data values are concentrated closely near the mean; in other data sets, the data values are more widely spread out from the mean. The most common measure of variation, or spread, is the standard deviation. The standard deviation is a number that measures how far data values are from their mean.

The standard deviation

  • provides a numerical measure of the overall amount of variation in a data set, and
  • can be used to determine whether a particular data value is close to or far from the mean.

The standard deviation provides a measure of the overall variation in a data set

The standard deviation is always positive or zero. The standard deviation is small when the data are all concentrated close to the mean, exhibiting little variation or spread. The standard deviation is larger when the data values are more spread out from the mean, exhibiting more variation.

Suppose that we are studying the amount of time customers wait in line at the checkout at supermarket A and supermarket B . the average wait time at both supermarkets is five minutes. At supermarket A , the standard deviation for the wait time is two minutes; at supermarket B the standard deviation for the wait time is four minutes.

Because supermarket B has a higher standard deviation, we know that there is more variation in the wait times at supermarket B . Overall, wait times at supermarket B are more spread out from the average; wait times at supermarket A are more concentrated near the average.

The standard deviation can be used to determine whether a data value is close to or far from the mean.

Suppose that Rosa and Binh both shop at supermarket A . Rosa waits at the checkout counter for seven minutes and Binh waits for one minute. At supermarket A , the mean waiting time is five minutes and the standard deviation is two minutes. The standard deviation can be used to determine whether a data value is close to or far from the mean.

Rosa waits for seven minutes:

  • Seven is two minutes longer than the average of five; two minutes is equal to one standard deviation.
  • Rosa's wait time of seven minutes is two minutes longer than the average of five minutes.
  • Rosa's wait time of seven minutes is one standard deviation above the average of five minutes.

Binh waits for one minute.

  • One is four minutes less than the average of five; four minutes is equal to two standard deviations.
  • Binh's wait time of one minute is four minutes less than the average of five minutes.
  • Binh's wait time of one minute is two standard deviations below the average of five minutes.
  • A data value that is two standard deviations from the average is just on the borderline for what many statisticians would consider to be far from the average. Considering data to be far from the mean if it is more than two standard deviations away is more of an approximate "rule of thumb" than a rigid rule. In general, the shape of the distribution of the data affects how much of the data is further away than two standard deviations. (You will learn more about this in later chapters.)

Questions & Answers

The probability range is 0 to 1... but why we take it 0 to 1....
Muhammad Reply
what do they mean in a question when you are asked to find P40 and P88
Megrina Reply
I dont get your question! What are you talk ING about?
Mani
hi
Mehri
you're asked to find page 40 and page 88 on that particular book.
Joseph
hi
ravi
any suggestions for statistics app better than this
ravi
sorry miss wrote the question
omar
No problem) By the way. I NEED a program For statistical data analysis. Any suggestion?
Mani
Eviews will help u
Kwadwo
Hello
Okonkwo
arey there any data analyst and working on sas statistical model building
ravi
Hi guys ,actually I have dicovered that the P40 and P88 means finding the 40th and 88th percentiles 😌..
Megrina
who can explain the euclidian distance
ravi
I am fresh student of statistics (BS) plz guide me best app or best website relative to stat topics
Noman
IMAGESNEWSVIDEOS A Dictionary of Computing. measures of location Quantities that represent the average or typical value of a random variable (compare measures of variation). They are either properties of a probability distribution or computed statistics of a sample. Three important measures are the mean, median, and mode.
Ahmed Reply
define the measures of location
Kaynaat Reply
IMAGESNEWSVIDEOS A Dictionary of Computing. measures of location Quantities that represent the average or typical value of a random variable (compare measures of variation). They are either properties of a probability distribution or computed statistics of a sample. Three important measures are th
Ahmed
hi i have a question....
Muhammad
what is confidence interval estimate and its formula in getting it
Jhezarie Reply
discuss the roles of vital and health statistic in the planning of health service of the community
BITRUS Reply
given that the probability of
BITRUS
can man city win Liverpool ?
Emmanuel Reply
There are two coins on a table. When both are flipped, one coin land on heads eith probability 0.5 while the other lands on head with probability 0.6. A coin is randomly selected from the table and flipped. (a) what is probability it lands on heads? (b) given that it lands on tail, what is the Condi
Nusrat Reply
0.5*0.5+0.5*0.6
Ravasz
what is gradient descent?
Saurav Reply
It should be a Machine learning terms。
Mok
it is a term used in linear regression
Saurav
what are the differences between standard deviation and variancs?
Enhance
what is statistics
Emmanuel Reply
statistics is the collection and interpretation of data
Enhance
the science of summarization and description of numerical facts
Enhance
Is the estimation of probability
Zaini
mr. zaini..can u tell me more clearly how to calculated pair t test
Haai
do you have MG Akarwal Statistics' book Zaini?
Enhance
Haai how r u?
Enhance
maybe .... mathematics is the science of simplification and statistics is the interpretation of such values and its implications.
Miguel
can we discuss about pair test
Haai
what is outlier?
Usama Reply
outlier is an observation point that is distant from other observations.
Gidigah
what is its effect on mode?
Usama
Outlier  have little effect on the mode of a given set of data.
Gidigah
How can you identify a possible outlier(s) in a data set.
Daniel
The best visualisation method to identify the outlier is box and wisker method or boxplot diagram. The points which are located outside the max edge of wisker(both side) are considered as outlier.
Akash
@Daniel Adunkwah - Usually you can identify an outlier visually. They lie outside the observed pattern of the other data points, thus they're called outliers.
Ron
what is completeness?
Muhammad
I am new to this. I am trying to learn.
Dom
I am also new Dom, welcome!
Nthabi
thanks
Dom
please my friend i want same general points about statistics. say same thing
alex
outliers do not have effect on mode
Meselu
also new
yousaf
I don't get the example
Hadekunle Reply
ways of collecting data at least 10 and explain
Ridwan Reply
Example of discrete variable
Bada Reply
sales made monthly.
Gbenga
I am new here, can I get someone to guide up?
alayo
dies outcome is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 nothing come outside of it. it is an example of discrete variable
jainesh
continue variable is any value value between 0 to 1 it could be 4digit values eg 0.1, 0.21, 0.13, 0.623, 0.32
jainesh
How to answer quantitative data
Alhassan Reply
hi
Kachalla
what's up here ... am new here
Kachalla
sorry question a bit unclear...do you mean how do you analyze quantitative data? If yes, it depends on the specific question(s) you set in the beginning as well as on the data you collected. So the method of data analysis will be dependent on the data collecter and questions asked.
Bheka
how to solve for degree of freedom
saliou
Quantitative data is the data in numeric form. For eg: Income of persons asked is 10,000. This data is quantitative data on the other hand data collected for either make or female is qualitative data.
Rohan
*male
Rohan
Degree of freedom is the unconditionality. For example if you have total number of observations n, and you have to calculate variance, obviously you will need mean for that. Here mean is a condition, without which you cannot calculate variance. Therefore degree of freedom for variance will be n-1.
Rohan
data that is best presented in categories like haircolor, food taste (good, bad, fair, terrible) constitutes qualitative data
Bheka
vegetation types (grasslands, forests etc) qualitative data
Bheka

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Source:  OpenStax, Introductory statistics. OpenStax CNX. May 06, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11562/1.18
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