Stuck on how to find the mean mode median in statistics?
- The mean is the average of a data set.
- The mode is the most common number in a data set.
- The median is the middle of the set of numbers.
Aren’t exactly sure what the difference is between the three? Watch the video or read Mean Mode Median below for a full explanation (and some tips to help you remember the differences between the three).
How to find the mean mode and median : Steps
How to find the mean mode and median: MODE
- Step 1: Put the numbers in order so that you can clearly see patterns.
For example, lets say we have 2, 19, 44, 44, 44, 51, 56, 78, 86, 99, 99. The mode is the number that appears the most often. In this case: 44, which appears three times.
How to find the mean mode and median: MEAN
Example: 2 +19 + 44 + 44 +44 + 51 + 56 + 78 + 86 + 99 + 99 = 622. Set this number aside for a moment.
In our example (2, 19, 44, 44, 44, 51, 56, 78, 86, 99, 99), we have 11 numbers.
In our example: 622 / 11 = 56.5454545. This is the mean, sometimes called the average.
How to find the mean mode and median: MEDIAN
- Step 5: Find the number in the middle of the series.
This is the median. 2, 19, 44, 44, 44, 51,56, 78, 86, 99, 99.
- Step 6: Find the middle two numbers.
For example, 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17. The median is the number that comes in the middle of those middle two numbers (7 and 8), so that number would be 7.5 in this case. (To do this mathematically, add the two numbers together and divide by 2).
Tip: You can have more than one mode. For example, the mode of 1, 1, 5, 5, 6, 6 is 1, 5, and 6.
Like the explanation? Check out the Practically Cheating Statistics Handbook, which has hundreds more step-by-step solutions, just like this one!
What is the Mean?
In statistics, the mean is the average of a set of data.
To find the mean, sum all the numbers and then divide by the number of items in the set. For example, to find the mean of the following set of numbers: 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33
First add them all together:
21 + 23 + 24 + 26 + 28 + 29 + 30 + 31 + 33 = 245
Then divide your answer by the number of items in your set. There are 9 numbers, so:
245 / 9 = 27.222
Note: The word “mean” can have other interpretations outside of statistics. For example, when the weather service reports that a “mean daily temperature” is 75 degrees, that number was obtained by taking the sum of the high daily temperature and the low daily temperature and dividing by 2. This is what is called a “Midrange“. While this can be a cause of confusion, remember that in statistics, the mean is the average.
What is the Mode?
The mode is the most common number in a set. For example, the mode in this set of numbers is 21:
21, 21, 21, 23, 24, 26, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33
What is the Median?
The median is the middle number in a data set. To find the median, list your data points in ascending order and then find the middle number. The middle number in this set is 28 as there are 4 numbers below it and 4 numbers above:
23, 24, 26, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33
Note: If you have an even set of numbers, average the middle two to find the mean. For example, the mean of this set of numbers is 28.5 (28 + 29 / 2).
23, 24, 26, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34
Hint to remember the difference
Having trouble remembering the difference between the mean, mode and median? Here’s a couple of hints that can help.
- “A la mode” is a French word that means fashionable and it also refers to a popular way of serving ice cream. So “Mode” is the most popular or fashionable member of a set of numbers. The word MOde is also like MOst.
- The “Mean” requires you do arithmetic (adding all the numbers and dividing) so that’s the “mean” one.
- “Median” has the same number of letters as “Middle”.
If you prefer an online interactive environment to learn R and statistics, this free R Tutorial by Datacamp is a great way to get started. If you’re are somewhat comfortable with R and are interested in going deeper into Statistics, try this Statistics with R track.