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Mode

A measure of the center point of a set of numerical data. It may be used in situations such as when you want to ask a question of the type: 'What is the most common...'.

In a set of numbers, the mode is the most common number. In a Histogram, the mode is the highest point. When a Histogram has two 'humps' it is called 'bimodal'. If it has many humps, it is called 'multimodal'.

An advantage of the mode is that it is not affected by outlier numbers (like 256 in the lists above). However, it is only one number and does not take the value of the other numbers into account.

Whilst the mode gives a measure of central tendency, the common method of measuring the spread of a set of numbers is the Standard Deviation.

Other methods of measuring central tendency are Mean (or Average) and Median.

See also:

Mean, Median, Standard Deviation

Toolbook chapter: Variation

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