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Mean: Market Research

The mean is a simple average gained by adding together the sum of all the responses to a question, and dividing them by the number of responses. The mean is a numerical value, and is often used in mean score testing.

For example, if five people gave the figure for the value of a weekly grocery shop, it might give the following:

£20, £30, £35, £70, £25. Added together the sum is £180. The mean average would thus be 180 divided by 5 (there are five respondents) which gives a figure of £36.

It should be noted that the mean can be affected by extreme values - such as the £70 in the above example. In this case, the mean is actually a higher value than the figure that 80% of the respondents gave, and may thus be misleading if we were looking for what the 'average' shopper spent per week. If we remove the extreme value, the mean falls to £27.50 (£110 divided by 4) which is a better approximation of the value the majority of respondents gave.

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