Question
Sat July 02, 2011 By:

what is the basic meaning of deviation method

Expert Reply
Mon July 04, 2011

The standard deviation is a statistic that tells you how tightly all the various examples are clustered around the mean in a set of data. When the examples are pretty tightly bunched together and the bell-shaped curve is steep, the standard deviation is small. When the examples are spread apart and the bell curve is relatively flat, that tells you you have a relatively large standard deviation.

Computing the value of a standard deviation is complicated. But let me show you graphically what a standard deviation represents...

One standard deviation away from the mean in either direction on the horizontal axis (the red area on the above graph) accounts for somewhere around 68 percent of the people in this group. Two standard deviations away from the mean (the red and green areas) account for roughly 95 percent of the people. And three standard deviations (the red, green and blue areas) account for about 99 percent of the people.

If this curve were flatter and more spread out, the standard deviation would have to be larger in order to account for those 68 percent or so of the people. So that's why the standard deviation can tell you how spread out the examples in a set are from the mean.

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