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Robust Statistics

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The first example involves the real data given in Table 1 which are the results of an interlaboratory test. The boxplots are shown in Fig. 1 where the dotted line denotes the mean of the observations and the solid line the median. We note that only the results of the Laboratories 1 and 3 lie below the mean whereas all the remaining laboratories return larger values. In the case of the median, 7 of the readings coincide with the median, 24 readings are smaller and 24 are larger. A glance at Fig. 1 suggests that in the absence of further information the Laboratories 1 and 3 should be treated as outliers. This is the course which we recommend although the issues involved require careful thought. For the moment we note simply that the median is a robust statistic whereas the mean is not.

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Ursula Gather, P. Laurie Davies

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Adapt according to the presented license agreement and reference the original author.