Imagine you have finished your degree and are seeking your next vocational opportunity. You search various websites that provide you information on mean and median salaries along with standard deviations for job titles you are interested in across different geographic locations. But what do these statistics really tell you? What is your possible earning potential within this job title? How do salaries vary across different locations? Where can you make the most money? What percentages of people in that job title have the salary you are looking for? Descriptive statistics provide you with the answers to these basic questions.
You are exposed to descriptive statistics every day and in many different ways. As Wheelan (2013) suggested, “descriptive statistics give us insight into phenomena that we care about” (p. 31). As you consider descriptive statistics in your daily life, also think about how understanding these data can propel you to the next level of developing your knowledge and skill set in quantitative analysis.
In this week, you will examine descriptive statistics to measure central tendency and variability. You also will explore the results of the data to determine implications for social change.