Handbook of Descriptive Statistics/Measures of Statistical Variability/Range

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Description[edit | edit source]

  • The range is the difference between the highest and lowest values of a variable. In some contexts, it is a single value obtained by subtracting the lowest (minimum) from the highest (maximum) value. In other contexts, the minimum and maximum are both presented and the range is a pair of values. For example, if the data include values from 10 through 42, the range may be expressed as either 32 (42-10) or the pair (10,42).

Usages[edit | edit source]

  • The range is a marker of the spread or variability of a variable.
  • The range is often a very unstable marker of variability because it can be highly influenced by a single outlier value. For instance, if the data contain the ages of many high school students all with values between 13 and 19 except for a single (perhaps erroneous) value of 93, the range is 80 rather than a more representative value of about 6.

Distributions[edit | edit source]

  • The range is calculable for any distribution measured on at least an ordinal scale.

Software[edit | edit source]

The range is usually presented along with other common descriptors by most commercial statistical software.

  • Stata: summarize varname
  • Excel: If the data are entered into cells B5 through B50, the range will be returned by the formula: