This is a tutorial on using a spreadsheet to compute the average, standard deviation, and percent deviation of a simple set of data. For this tutorial we will use the Open Office spreadsheet Calc OpenOffice is a free alternative to Microsoft's Office. You will learn how to use the builtin functions AVERAGE() and STDEV() to compute the average and standard deviation of a set of cells. Finally you will learn how to compute the fractional error and format it as a percent, the percent deviation. The same result can be obtained using Microft Office's Excel with very similar steps.

I have written a short set of Notes on Linear Regression that outline a simple way to derive the equations for a linear regression. The notes also give a code fragment for programming a linear regression in Python using the SciPy modules.

The equations used (behind the scenes) by Calc in calculating the average and standard deviation of a data set are usually derived in a course on probability and statistics. For Calculus level discussion with an emphasis on data analysis see Introduction to Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements (Second Edition, 1997) by John R. Taylor, University of Colorado, Boulder. Publisher: University Science Books. .

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