1332.0.55.002 - Statistical Language!, 2008
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2008  First Issue
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Contents >> Mode >> When is the mode not a good measure of central tendency?

WHEN IS THE MODE NOT A GOOD MEASURE OF CENTRAL TENDENCY?

There are a number of reasons when the mode would not be the best measure of central tendency. Some are illustrated below.

Example

If there is more than one mode these modes will not be meaningful if a single measure of central tendency is required.

 Employment details of 'The Widget Company' Observation Position in company Salary (\$) 1 CEO 100 000 2 Manager 100 000 3 Manager 59 000 4 Factory Worker 52 000 5 Factory Worker 51 000 6 Factory Worker 50 000 7 Factory Worker 49 000 8 Trainee 40 000 9 Trainee 40 000

In the above table there are two modes, 100,000 and 40,000, therefore it is impossible to determine one measure of central tendency using mode in this case.

Example

If there is no mode in a data set (as all data items are different) then a different measure of central tendency is required.

 Employment details of 'The Widget Company' Observation Position in company Salary (\$) 1 CEO 100 000 2 Manager 98 000 3 Manager 59 000 4 Factory Worker 52 000 5 Factory Worker 51 000 6 Factory Worker 50 000 7 Factory Worker 49 000 8 Trainee 45 000 9 Trainee 40 000

In the above table there is no mode as all salaries are different.

Example

The mode may not fall near the centre of the data.

 Employment details of 'The Widget Company' Observation Position in company Salary (\$) 1 CEO 100 000 2 Manager 98 000 3 Manager 59 000 4 Factory Worker 52 000 5 Factory Worker 51 000 6 Factory Worker 50 000 7 Factory Worker 49 000 8 Trainee 40 000 9 Trainee 40 000

In the above table the mode is now \$40,000, which is not a good measure of central tendency.

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