11. Interpreting the Mean

English: Histogram of sepal widths for Iris ve...

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The mathematical concept of the mean is a more precise way of determining the average. The mean is the best number that can represent a large series of numbers. There is no particular problem with the interpretation of the mean with an example such as the question, “What is the average age of the students in career programs in the college?” However, if we use a rating scale of any kind and ask the subjects of our research a question of value, how do we interpret the resultant mean? Can we simply place the mean on the same instrument device that we used in the data collection?

Standard deviation

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Methods for calculating the mean and standard deviation are illustrated in the book, with examples using the respective formulas.

APPENDIX – What does the mean mean?
The author proposes a standard for analyzing means, by overlaying a nine-point scale on the survey scale to help interpret the meaning of the results.


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