The Problems With Some Means: Cautionary Advice Regarding Reporting and Interpreting Averages in Communication Research

Academic Article


  • The arithmetic mean is ubiquitous in communication research. Although the reporting of descriptive statistics is desirable and encouraged, caution is needed in special circumstances. Three potential problems with means are discussed. The mean can be misleading when (a) data are not normally distributed, (b) when there are undetected treatment ×subject interactions, and (c) in meta-analysis when effects are heterogeneous. © 2012 Copyright Eastern Communication Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Levine TR
  • Start Page

  • 80
  • End Page

  • 85
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 1