Sample mean: definition & Examples


Comparison of mean, mode, and median. Cmglee, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

< Statistics and probability definitions

In statistics, the sample mean is an average of a set of data. This measure of central tendency can be used to calculate the standard deviation and variance of a data set. The sample mean can also be applied to determine population averages. Many industries employ the use of statistical data, including:

  • Scientific fields like ecology, biology and meteorology
  • Medical fields and pharmacology
  • Data and computer science, information technology and cybersecurity
  • Aerospace and aeronautical industries
  • Fields in engineering and design
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How to calculate the sample mean


To find the sample mean, add up the number of items in a sample set and then divide that sum by the number of items in the sample set. For example, if you have a set of data with 10 items, you would add those items together and then divide by 10. The result would be your sample mean.
It’s important to note that the sample mean is only an estimate of the true population mean. To get a more accurate estimate, you would need to take a larger sample size. However, the larger your sample size, the more time and resources it will take to collect that data. Therefore, statisticians must strike a balance between accuracy and feasibility when determining sample sizes.

Uses for Sample Means

There are many different uses for calculating a sample mean. As mentioned before, this measure can be used to calculate central tendency, standard deviation and variance. Additionally, the sample mean can be used to predict future events or trends. For instance, stock analysts may use past stock prices to predict future changes in the market. Additionally, economists may use GDP data from previous quarters to predict future economic growth. Thus, the sample mean can be used for both scientific discovery as well as predicting future outcomes.

Another common use for the sample mean is calculating population averages. Imagine you are trying to determine how much money the average person spends on groceries per month. You could survey 100 people and ask them how much they spend on groceries in a typical month. Then you would take all 100 responses and calculate the sample mean. This would give you an estimate of how much money the average person spends on groceries each month. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this number is only an estimate since you did not surveyed every single person in existence!

Conclusion: The sample mean is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of purposes, including calculating central tendency, standard deviation and variance as well as predicting future events or trends. This measure can also be employed to calculate population averages; however, it’s important to remember that these numbers are only estimates since it’s impossible to survey every single person in existence!