Mean is a concept used in the context of statistics, it is also known as the arithmetic mean. Arithmetic mean is sum total of numbers present in the collection divided by the number of numbers present in the collection. For example if there are 5 people whose weight are 30,40,50,60 and 70 pounds, now if one has to find the mean weight of this group than it will be calculated as sum total of weight of the group which is 250 and then it will divide by the number of people which is 5 than the mean weight of this group will come to 50 pounds. In order to understand more about this concept one should look at the advantages and disadvantages of mean
Advantages of Mean
All Data is Used
The biggest advantage of mean is that all the data is taken into account for calculating mean of the data and hence no data is left out which results in mean having the representation of all the data and therefore it will be giving accurate results.
Simple to Understand and Calculate
Another advantage of mean is that it is very easy to understand and calculate and therefore any individual having basic mathematics knowledge can understand and compute the mean from available data.
Finite and not affected by sample
Another benefit of mean is that it gives a finite figure for any kind of data and also it is least affected by fluctuations of sampling and therefore one does not get confused as the result is in a finite form capable of analysis for the end user.
Disadvantages of Mean
Distortion Due to Extreme Values
The biggest disadvantage of mean is that extreme values can result in wrong calculation of mean because suppose in the above example if 60 and pounds is replaced by 150 and 200 pounds than the mean figure of 94 pounds will be wrong as 2 extreme values has changed the whole mean figure and therefore not truly representing the correct picture about the data.
Large Data Problem
If the data under consideration is too large than it is not feasible to compute mean of all data as it will be time-consuming and also not practical and therefore mean cannot be used for very large data. Hence if there are millions of data points then naturally calculation of mean will not be possible for such large data.
Problem of Percentage and Ratios
If the data is in the form of percentage or ratios than it will be very difficult to calculate mean of such data and therefore it is very difficult to use for those data which are in the form of ratios or percentage.
As one can see from the above that arithmetic mean have pros, as well as cons and anyone thinking of using this analysis, should carefully read above points and then take the decision because interpretation about the data only on the basis of the arithmetic mean can lead to wrong decision.