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Quartiles and the interquartile range can be used to group and analyze data sets.

In this lesson,
learn the definition and steps for finding the quartiles and interquartile range for a given data set.

Quartile Hoops
Coach Taylor is a local basketball coach. He has a team of 20 players. He's putting together a
unique practice schedule where four different groups of players can practice with one another while
the other groups take a day off. Coach Taylor wants to group his players by free throw accuracy. He
also wants to designate leaders of each group. Look at the chart detailing each player and his free
throw record so far this season.

Free-throw data for each player

From this information, Coach Taylor can use quartiles and the interquartile range to designate group
leaders and separate the groups by free throw average.

Finding the Quartiles of a Data Set


A quartile is a group of values and/or means that divide a data set into quarters, or groups of four.
Do not be confused here; a quartile is a value, not a group of numbers. Think of a quartile as a cut
off point for each group. A group has to start and stop somewhere, and that's exactly what a quartile
does.
The interquartile range is a value that is the difference between the upper quartile value and the
lower quartile value. Coach Taylor can use the interquartile range to summarize the overall accuracy
of his players.
To find the quartiles of this data set, use the following steps:

1. Order the data from least to greatest.


2. Find the median of the data set and divide the data set into two halves.
3. Find the median of the two halves.

The median is the midpoint value of a data set, where the values are arranged in ascending or
descending order.
The first thing we need to do for this data set is order the numbers least to greatest. Any time you
are working with quartiles, you must do this step. Let's take a look at our data set now: 1, 2, 2, 2, 2,
3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10.
Now, for step two, eliminate each number until you find the middle of the data set. I like to eliminate
numbers alternating smallest and largest until I have a middle number: 1, 10, 2, 10, 2, 9, 2, 9, 2, 8, 3,
7, 4, 7, 5, 7, 5, 6. Now, it looks like I have two middle numbers! If you are left with two middle
numbers, simply take the two numbers and find the mean: 5 + 6 = 11 / 2 = 5.5. The median of this
data set is 5.5. Place a mark between the 5 and the 6.
For step three, we need to find the median of the first and second half of the data set. Start with the
first half: 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5. Eliminate each number until you find the middle: 1, 5, 2, 5, 2, 5, 2,
4. Find the mean: 2 + 3 = 5 / 2 = 2.5. Place a mark between the two and the three in your data set.
Pause the video here and find the median of the second half of the data. The median for the second
half of the data is 7.5. Place a mark between the 7 and 8 in your data set.
Each mark in your data set actually represents a quartile. The first mark at 2.5 represents the first
quartile, also known as the Qsub1 or lower quartile. The second mark at 5.5 represents the second
quartile, also known as the Qsub2 or median, and the third mark at 7.5 represents the third quartile,
or the Qsub3 or upper quartile.

Finding the Interquartile of a Data Set


Now that Coach Taylor has his four groups, he wants to find the interquartile range to best
summarize the performance of his players. To find the interquartile range, simply take the upper
quartile and subtract the lower quartile: 7.5 - 2.5 = 5.
The interquartile range for this data set is 5. That means that the majority of the group can make
about five out of ten free throw shots. Since the quartiles divide the data set into four equal groups,
there are a few things to note about the data set.
First, we can make the observation that 75% of the data set is less than 7.5: that's the upper quartile.
That also means that 50% of the data set is less than 5.5 because that is the median, and 25% of
the data set is less than 2.5 because that is the lower quartile. Second, we can say that each group
is 25% of the data because the total data set is divided by four. That means that 50% of the data is
between 2.5 and 7.5, the lower and upper quartiles.

Quartile and Interquartile Practice


Now Coach Taylor is really getting into analyzing the data of his players. He wants to find the
quartiles and interquartile range of his top five players' assists. Take a look at this chart; it shows the
average number of assists per game for each player.
The assists per game for each player

So, our data set is 6, 3, 8, 11, 7. The first thing we need to do is order the data like this: 3, 6, 7, 8,
11. Pause the video here to see if you can find the quartiles and the interquartile range.
Okay, my median in the whole data set is 7 - I didn't have to find the mean this time because my
data set contains an odd number of values. My first quartile is 4.5 because I had to find the mean of
3 and 6. My third quartile is 9.5 because I had to find the mean of 8 and 11. The interquartile range
for this data set is 5.
Notice that the cut off for this group of data does not put all of the numbers into nice little groups. In
this case, we could put 7 in the group with 6 or with 8. That's okay - don't get too hung up on the
groups when dealing with quartiles. Simply focus on the quartiles themselves as the cut off points.

Lesson Summary
When you divide a data set into four equal groups, you will have quartiles. Quartiles act as the cut off
points for these groups, telling each group at what number to start and to stop. A quartile is defined
as a group of values and/or means that divide a data set into quarters, or groups of four.
To find the quartiles of a data set use the following steps:

1. Order the data from least to greatest.


2. Find the median of the data set and divide the data set into halves.
3. Find the median of the two halves.

The median is the midpoint value of a data set, where the values are arranged in ascending or
descending order.
You can summarize the majority of data by using the interquartile range. The interquartile range is
a value that is the difference between the upper quartile value and the lower quartile value. To find
the interquartile range, simply take the upper quartile and subtract the lower quartile.