Handbook of Descriptive Statistics/Measures of Statistical Variability/Range

Description edit

  • 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

  • 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

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

Software edit

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: