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# Boundaries

There is a video in BM Common (also available on CD in the library) to help with boundaries.
Also check out the S1 Made Easy Details document on the web site as this has lots of details and
examples (on lots of stuff!!).
Fundamentally boundaries are the mid-points between classes. GFD and SFD classes are in
size order so they could in theory be placed along a number line, eg
0 and < 5
8 and < 12
15 and < 20
20 and < 30
30 and over
On a number line these would look roughly like:
0

10

0 and < 5

20

30

8 and < 12

40

15 and < 20 20 and < 30

30 and over

And the boundaries are the points BETWEEN these different classes.
The first lower boundary we cannot determine, as there is no class below the first one, and hence
no mid-point, so we leave this one until the end. For a similar reason we leave the very last one
until the end too. These are shown with some exam type examples at the end.
So now for all of the other classes and boundaries - We just find the mid-points between the class
limits. These mid-points are easy enough to see directly from the number line above. They are
located graphically as follows:
First
boundary

0

Second
boundary

10

Third
boundary

20

Fourth
boundary

30

40

See that the upper boundary of the first class is also the lower boundary of the next, and so on.
This must be true as boundaries are where classes meet, and they must meet at a common point!
So we calculate boundaries as the mid-points between class limits – This is the fundamental rule
for calculating all boundaries, except for the first and last which we leave until the end.
Boundaries are then the mid-points between where one class ends, and the next one starts. The
mid-point between the upper limit of one class and the lower limit of the next.

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and is * Which is how you get any “mid-point” … add the two values involved. So the procedure is to calculate the UBs and when these are all done (except the last one) then copy them all down and back into the LBs.5 20 30 ??? Obtained by: (5 + 8)  2 Obtained by: (20 + 20)  2 Take the first class: “0 and < 5” … the UB is calculated as the mid-point between the UL of this class (ie 5) and the LL of the next class (ie 8). so the UB of one class *IS* also the LB of the *NEXT* class.5 20 30 UB 6. Examples When you create a GFD yourself then you will normally create something like (1) or (4) below. Q1) Make a copy of the GFD above. and understand why.5 13.5 (as shown in row 2 of the table).) Notice that in each case once the UB is calculated it is simply copied in as the LB of the next class – Because the boundaries are the points where the classes meet. If you don’t then make sure to ask me to clarify the situation/method for you. This is fine for now.5. which is (12 + 15)  2 = 27  2 = 13. including the classes. regardless of whether the data are discrete or not.5 13. lower boundary (LB) and upper boundary (UB) is: 0 and < 5 8 and < 12 15 and < 20 20 and < 30 30 and over LL 0 8 15 20 30 UL 5 12 20 30 –– LB ??? 6. Page 2 of 10 . Second class: “8 and < 12” … the UB is calculated as the mid-point between the UL of this class (ie 12) and the LL of the next class (ie 15). upper limits (UL). So for the above GFD the extended table. And so on for the rest of the classes … skipping the last class for now (try and do it and you’ll find you “fall off the table”!! … you run out of classes.Boundaries 0 and < 5 8 and < 12 15 and < 20 20 and < 30 30 and over To calculate a mid-point we add the two values involved and divide by 2*. and for the exam. and divide by 2 to get the middle of two numbers. which is (5 + 8)  2 = 13  2 = 6. and attempt to calculate the boundaries yourself – Make sure you get the same answers. lower limits (LL).

As with the example in the last section make sure to try and calculate these for yourself as practice – Any problems or differences then ask me.5 27.5 39.Boundaries what I want you to do – But I also want to point out that normally discrete data are handled slightly differently from continuous data. ‘cos if you used it and data are continuous then you are wrong! The format in 1 is the way to go if creating a GFD.5 19.5 27. and as I’ve pointed out in class. as some of the examples below show. Page 3 of 10 . and in “real life” they often are!! In exams they often won’t be. so that I can test if you know how to do boundaries!! 2) Continuous data LL <5 7 and < 12 17 and < 25 30 and < 37 40 and over –– 7 17 30 40 UL 5 12 25 37 LB ??? 6 14. If you *create* a GFD then it should have no gaps!! I only insert gaps to test if you can do boundaries correctly.5 32.5 ??? So this shows that discrete while the class descriptions may look a little different the basic method still works in the same way as for continuous.5 32. 3) Discrete data LL <5 5 to 9 10 to 19 20 to 29 36 to 39 40 and over –– 5 10 20 36 40 UL 5 9 19 29 39 –– LB ??? 5 9.5 39.5 ??? ASIDE: This is a more realistic exam type example than 1 above. ASIDE: This format for a GFD. isn’t great unless you really know about your data!! I’d advise (for now) not to use this.5 38.5 –– UB 6 14. since there are gaps so that the limits and boundaries differ.5 19.5 38.5 UB 5 9. 1) Continuous data LL <5 5 and < 10 10 and < 20 20 and < 30 30 and < 40 40 and over –– 5 10 20 30 40 UL 5 10 20 30 40 LB ??? 5 10 20 30 40 –– UB 5 10 20 30 40 ??? ASIDE: Here you see that limits and boundaries may be the same. if creating one.

Look for a pattern in the other class boundaries. as this uses information.5 6.5 34.5 UB 3 4. then … 4.5 6. which is key stuff. ie you would choose to having values that are obvious in preference to keeping equal class widths. Look at what the data represents and based on that see if you can decide on appropriate obvious lower and upper boundaries. The equal class widths is the only one we will look for. such as all other classes having equal widths (ie upper boundary minus lower boundary.5 ??? ASIDE: Like 3 above.5 ??? First LB and Last UB So then we come to how to fill in the first and last boundaries. such as no obvious pattern. then … 2. from the given GFD to predict approximate values for the first LB and last UB. Use the “projection method” (explained below).5 34. such as no obvious pattern.5 19. if creating one. UB – LB).Boundaries 4) Continuous data 730 and < 760 760 and < 790 790 and < 820 820 and < 850 850 and < 880 LL 730 760 790 820 850 UL 760 790 820 850 880 LB ??? 760 790 820 850 UB 760 790 820 850 ??? 5) Discrete data 1-9 10 – 19 20 – 29 30 – 34 35 – 49 LL 1 10 20 30 35 UL 9 19 29 34 49 LB ??? 9. this format for a GFD. isn’t great unless you really know about your data!! I’d advise (for now) not to use this. Be careful to state you reasons in an exam in case I don’t agree!! If this fails to give an answer. 6) SFD 2 4 5 8 LL 2 4 5 8 UL 2 4 5 8 LB ??? 3 4. There are four rules (well three really …): 1.5 29. Page 4 of 10 . These should make sense based on the context of the data and the situation involved. so don’t start finding all kinds of patterns here!! If this doesn’t work for some reason. Then choose the two remaining boundaries so that this pattern is maintained. If this doesn’t work for some reason.5 19. Make up values that just seem reasonable! (Will not apply in exams!) NOTE: that sometimes items 1 and 2 can be interchanged. ‘cos if you used it and data are continuous then you are wrong! The format in 1 is the way to go if creating a GFD.5 29. or the context is unknown then … 3.5 UB 9. in a particular way.

but these are not required for the exam answer. Q1 part II) A survey of 50 people on the average amount spent on mobile phone bills was conducted by a consumer research organisation. The last rule is really just the second one again. to be sure!) where appropriate. and show 2 or 3 sample calculations (or them all. so two full examples of calculations follow: Example 1 (Jan exam 2004. The data were summarised into the following grouped frequency distribution (GFD): Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over Number of People 5 20 18 7 a) Create a table showing the: i) descriptions ii) limits iii) boundaries iv) widths v) mid-points (9 marks) In an exam I’d create a single table. I’ll also include extra details within square brackets [like this] and italicised for your information.] Page 5 of 10 . Just indicate that these are missing as shown below.Boundaries Whichever approach you use note the reasons so that it is clear to whoever comes after you (such as me as your examiner!). i) [Descriptions are just the classes themselves. Here I’ll break it up a bit into more detail to help you see the steps. and the values chosen must make sense for the data involved. but using pure educated guessing! If you are specifically asked for “equal class widths” then you must choose the two missing boundaries to make this happen. How to do the first and last is best demonstrated with examples. so (i) is simple …] Decsriptions < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over ii) [Limits you just read from the descriptions … no calculations involved … and don’t invent or calculate missing limits on the first and/or last class.

If this was the case then I might have looked at frequencies and decided that Page 6 of 10 . so we use as much information as we can to decide what they might be. which are not equal! So next we look back at the data. since we have widths of 125 and 90. At this stage the first LB is missing] Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over LL UL LB UB –– 300 400 500 250 400 480 –– ??? 275 400 490 (250+300)÷2 = 550÷2=275 (400+400)÷2 = 800÷2=400 (480+500)÷2 = 980÷2=490 ??? [Now we come to the first LB and last UB. so we calculate the middle class widths] LB1: Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over LL UL LB UB Widths –– 300 400 500 250 400 480 –– ??? 275 400 490 (250+300)÷2 = 550÷2=275 (400+400)÷2 = 800÷2=400 (480+500)÷2 = 980÷2=490 ??? 400 – 275 = 125 490 – 400 = 90 [Clearly not “equal class widths”. This data relates to people’s spend on mobile phone bills. such as everyone in fact did have a phone then we’d need a different argument. but not everyone has a mobile.Boundaries Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over LL UL –– 300 400 500 250 400 480 –– iii) [First do the steps outlined for getting the main set of UBs …] Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over LL UL –– 300 400 500 250 400 480 –– LB UB (250+300)÷2 = 550÷2=275 (400+400)÷2 = 800÷2=400 (480+500)÷2 = 980÷2=490 ??? [Next copy these down to the following LBs … you do this in the same table … I’m just doing a second table so you can see the changes at each step. The LB must be the lowest reasonable and realistic value. We must first check for “equal class widths”. and look for other “patterns” … basically we are trying to choose reasonable values. So realistically the lowest amount spent that we need to allow for will have to be zero here. so the LB is 0. If we had more info in the question. At the end of the day these are still just guesses … but a guess that uses as much info as possible is likely to be a bit more accurate than a number picked for little or no reason! Read the question again.

Boundaries for the first LB the frequency goes from 20 in the second class to 5 in the first class. So using either method here we end up with the same answer. These are the “projected frequencies” that I do in classes. which is once again 0. We get these since 5/4 is approximately 1. That doesn’t always happen. From the second UL to the first is a gap of 150 (ie 400–250). Now continuing this we get 250–150 to get 100 and then 100–150=–50. so we would then choose the next nearest value. So this is ¼ and if we continue this we’d get imaginary frequencies of approximately 1 and then 0. Now beside these we project the classes using the ULs (strangely we use ULs to get the LB!! I’ll have explained why in class … ask me if you missed it and want to know why). This hasn’t worked here … –50 is not a “realistic” lower value. and 1/4 is approximately 0.] Page 7 of 10 . So now we have projected classes: –50 100 Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over 0 1 Number of People 5 20 18 7 Projected classes [We always stop at the class with zero frequency.

That’s a lot of details … Here’s what I’d write in an exam:] Page 8 of 10 . and continuing this we get the projected details: Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over 600 700 800 900 Number of People 5 20 18 7 3 2 1 0 Projected classes So the last UB using the projection method is 900. Now project from LL to LL. 0 (these are approximate. so continue this pattern in the frequencies to get projected frequencies of 7/2=3(?). which we must always check for first. so the last UB I will take to be 900. so you might think differently to me. I can’t think of any reason this is not realistic. but first we recall that there were not equal class widths. so use projection on the last two classes: 7 is roughly ½ of 18. I’ll do an example next where there are equal class widths and you’ll see that this is simplest thing to happen … see example 2 below … back to the UB … Step 1: Check for equal class widths … done … not! Step 2: Obvious values? Nothing obvious. but now using the end two classes.Boundaries UB4: (the last one) [Basically do something similar to what we did for LB1. 3/2=2(?). 1. ie 400 to 500 is a gap of 100. which is fine once your method is correct).

** Last UB: Not equal class widths.] Page 9 of 10 . so that the examiner knows what you were doing.Boundaries Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over LL UL LB UB Widths –– 300 400 500 250 400 480 –– 0* 275 400 490 275 400 490 900 ** 125 90 * First LB: Clearly not equal class widths. Projected classes are: 600 3 700 2 800 1 900 0 Last UB is 900 from projection.5 445 695 [Note in an exam it is a good idea to show a few sample calculations like I have done here. [In ANY question where you put in these first and last boundaries. and I would say put all answers into a single table rather than repeating things … which is a waste of time in an exam.5 (275+400) ÷ 2 = 337.] [Now we finish off the widths. Nearest realistic value is 0. If you just write down “numbers” with no details then if wrong I have no idea what you were doing!] [That is it … a very long winded way of answering the exam question! In an exam you would go for a much briefer version. One of the 50 may not have a phone. so this is used. Projected classes: –50 0 100 1 So first LB is –50 from projection. and this seems a realistic upper maximum if someone used their phone a lot. and nothing obvious. since we now have the previously missing boundaries …] Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over LL UL LB UB Widths –– 300 400 500 250 400 480 –– 0* 275 400 490 275 400 490 900 ** 275 125 90 410 [Finally add on a column for the mid-points … these are just (LB+UB)/2 for each class …] Average Bill Amount (€) < 250 300 and < 400 400 and < 480 500 and over LL UL LB UB Widths Mid-Points –– 300 400 500 250 400 480 –– 0* 275 400 490 275 400 490 900 ** 275 125 90 410 (0+275) ÷ 2 = 137. make sure you explain your reasoning for them as this will normally give you marks. so spend €0 per bill.

so chose last UB as 510 to make last class the same width.5 * First LB: Middle two classes are equal widths at 5. and shows the weights of 92 sampled packets: Weight Per Packet (g) Less than 495 495 and less than 499 501 and less than 503 507 and over Number of Packets 16 32 34 10 a) Using this GFD create a table of values with the following columns: i) boundaries ii) widths iii) mid-points (5 marks) [Doing a briefer solution this time.5 [Done!] Page 10 of 10 . This seems a realistic value for a production line.5 502.5 (495 + 500) ÷ 2 = 497. Seems a realistic enough value for a production line. so we make first class equal by subtracting 5 from the first class UB (ie 495 – 5 = 490).5 497. Samples: [Show some of these in an exam!!] UBs: (495 + 495) ÷ 2 = 495 (499 + 501) ÷ 2 = 500 (503 + 507) ÷ 2 = 505 Widths: (495 – 490) = 5 (500 – 495) = 5 Mid-Points: (490 + 495) ÷ 2 = 492. Q2. ** Last UB: Equal classes.Boundaries Example 2: Equal class widths (Aug/repeat exam 2005.5 507. part III) The following grouped frequency distribution (GFD) summarises data collected on a breakfast cereal production line. which is more realistic exam style answer … since most details have been given above already in the last example …] Number of Weight Per Packet (g) Packets Less than 495 16 495 and less than 499 32 501 and less than 503 34 507 and over 10 LB UB 490 * 495 500 505 495 500 505 510 ** Widths Mid-Points 5 5 5 5 492.