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Summary Statistics

  • The errors which arise from the absence of facts are far more numerous and more durable than those which result from unsound reasoning respecting true data.

    Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  • Who says a statistics teacher can't play a mean guitar ... with X-barre chords?

    Larry Lesser (1964 - )

  • Data is what distinguishes the dilettante from the artist.

    George Vincent Higgins (1939 - 1999)

  • ...the goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight.

    Carly Fiorina (1954 - )

  • Descriptive Statistics are like Real Estate plus. They are all about location, location, location ... plus spread, spread, spread.

    Dennis Pearl (1951 - )

  • USA Today has come out with a new survey - apparently three out of four people make up 75 percent of the population.

    David Letterman (1947 - )

  • The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself.

    Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
    (Attribution to Churchill is ironically falsified)

  • Legal proceedings are like statistics. If you manipulate them, you can prove anything.

    Arthur Hailey (1920 - 2004)

  • Song copyright by Gary Cziko

    Well I [G] got me some data [C] to make me more [G] wise,
    But the [C] data I [G] had to [D7] summarize,
    Since my [G] Ed Psych 480 I did [C] mem-o-[G]-rize ,
    I [C] knew just [D7] what to [G] do.

    Refrain: Oh, the [D7] mode, the mean, and the [C] med-i-[G]-an,
    For a [C] large set of [G] data you [D7] choose just one,
    As a typical value we [C] have these [G] three
    Measures [C] of Central [D7] Ten-den-[G]-cy.

    Now the [G] mode is quite easy to [C] find, you [G] see,
    But it [C] suffers from [G] insta-[D7]-bil-ity,
    Yet for [G] categorical data use it [C] confident-[G]- ly,
    There [C] just ain't no [D7] other [G] choice.

    Repeat Refrain

    If you [G] like to rank data use the [C] me-di-[G]-an,
    It's so [C] much [G] fun to find the [D7] middle one,
    But if [G] you have two middle values [C] not [G] one
    Their [C] midpoint is [D7] what [G] you need.

    Repeat Refrain

    The [G] a-rith-metic mean may be [C] your best [G] bet,
    And [C] you can be [G] sure that I'll [D7] never for-get,
    It [G] reflects all the values of the [C] data [G] set,
    [C] E-ven those [D7] quite [G] ex-treme.

  • Lyric copyright by Lawrence Mark Lesser
    May sing to tune of "Love and Marriage" (Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen)

    What's the av'rage, what's the av'rage--
    It's a question to be askin':
    When it's in the media,
    Please ask what does it mean t'ya?

    What's the av'rage, what's the av'rage?
    Each kind has its own baggage--
    Some try to fool the plebian
    By choosing mean or median!

    Are... there... outlier values
    or lots of skewness?
    Do we... want... middle or the total?
    Let's review this...

    What's the av'rage, what's the av'rage?
    It's a question we must manage:
    When it's in the media,
    You gotta know, you gotta know,
    You gotta know what it means t'ya!