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Omkar Phatak
Apr 23, 2019

If you are curious about what 'Mean' is in mathematical terms, this write-up will be a helpful read. The calculation method for this important statistical parameter is presented in here.

When taking up your first course in mathematics and statistics, you will come across many terms that you will need to know. One of the most widely used ones is 'mean'.

Mean is another term for 'Average'. It is one of the most widely used concepts in applied mathematics. In statistics, a set of numbers is known as a 'population'. For a population, it is the number obtained by summing all the numbers in the set together, and then dividing the total by the quantity of numbers.

It is an indicator of the central value, around which the whole set is arranged. This value is often calculated for various reasons.

Let us solve an example. Consider a set of numbers like '20, 10, 40, 30, 60'. We have to calculate the mean or average of these numbers. The first step is to add them up together.

The sum of these numbers is (20 + 10 + 40 + 30 + 60 = ) 160. The next step is to divide the sum by the total quantity of numbers, which is 5. Then, we divide 160 by 5, which gives the quotient to be 32. So, 32 is the mean value, around which the numbers in this set are distributed.

Median is the central or middle number among a set of numbers (of odd quantity), when they are arranged in ascending or descending order. It is a concept used in statistics. Let us see how median value is calculated from a set of numbers.

Consider the following set of numbers - '8, 6, 2, 1, 11'. When arranged in ascending order, the sequence of numbers becomes - '1, 2, 6, 8, 11'. As you can see, here 6 is exactly in the center and hence, it is the median value.

In a set of numbers, mode is the number which appears maximum number of times in it. Consider a set of numbers like '8, 7, 3, 4, 8, 9, 8'. As you can see, all the numbers except 8, appear only once. So here 8 is the 'mode' value.

Mathematics is all about practice. It provide tools which can be used to make sense of the data, that is continuously bombarded at us. Median, mean, and mode are concepts from statistics, that are most helpful, when you are analyzing a random bunch of numbers.