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Mathematics for science and technology
Mathematics for science and technology

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1.1 Different types of distribution

Figure 2 showed that if the data have a normal distribution the mean value corresponds to the peak of the distribution. Normal distributions of data are very common in science, but are by no means universal. Figure 4 shows some other possible distributions, three of which are symmetric and one of which is skewed (i.e. not symmetric).

Four graphs each with a different curve pattern and showing the mean.
Figure 4 Graphs showing different types of distribution

As you will see in the next section these different types of distribution leads to consideration of what type of average best represents the data.