Generating Meaningful Statistics (A Continuation of Averages are Awesome but Medians May be More Meaningful)

If you read last week’s blog, you’ll remember that I waxed rhapsodic about medians, and a wee bit about other common statistical calculations. I also promised to provide step-by-step instructions for how to produce this data using ResultsPlus and other tools you already know and have. Here goes (in alphabetical order)!

Averages: In addition to several reports that contain this type of data, you can take any query in ResultsPlus and obtain an average. Any time you print a list of constituents in ResultsPlus, you have the opportunity to turn that list into a report. The wizard that allows you to do this is called the Quick Report Wizard. From within the wizard, you can add an average for any numeric field:

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Averages are Awesome, but Medians May Be More Meaningful!

I’m pretty sure we are all aware of what an average is. Averages have a pretty significant weakness, though, from a data analysis perspective: They are easily skewed by “outlier” data. One extremely large gift, for example, can make your average significantly higher than it would otherwise be. There are numerous things you can do to minimize this impact. For example, statisticians will often remove outlier data on both ends (high and low) before calculating the average. But what constitutes outlier data? If you are planning this route, you then have to start worrying about additional calculations.

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