Measures of spread, also known as measures of dispersion, provide information about how spread out or concentrated the values in a dataset are. These measures help to quantify the variability or dispersion of data points around a central value. Common measures of spread include range, variance, standard deviation, and interquartile range (IQR).

**Range:**

- The range is the simplest measure of spread and is calculated as the difference between the maximum and minimum values in a dataset.
- Formula: ( \text{Range} = \text{Max} – \text{Min} )
- The range is sensitive to outliers and may not be a robust measure of spread for datasets with extreme values.

**Interquartile Range (IQR):**

- The interquartile range is a measure of statistical dispersion, or in simple terms, the range of the middle 50% of the data.
- It is calculated as the difference between the third quartile (Q3) and the first quartile (Q1).
- Formula: ( \text{IQR} = Q3 – Q1 )
- The IQR is less sensitive to outliers than the range and provides a more robust measure of spread.

**Variance:**

- Variance measures the average squared deviation of each data point from the mean. A high variance indicates that data points are more spread out from the mean.
- Formula: ( \text{Variance} = \frac{\Sigma_{i=1}^{n} (x_i – \bar{x})^2}{n} )
- Variance gives equal weight to all deviations, making it sensitive to outliers.

**Standard Deviation:**

- The standard deviation is the square root of the variance. It is often preferred over the variance because it is expressed in the same units as the original data.
- Formula: ( \text{Standard Deviation} = \sqrt{\text{Variance}} )
- The standard deviation provides a more interpretable measure of spread than variance.

### Example:

Consider the dataset: ( 5, 7, 8, 8, 10, 12, 15 )

**Range:**

[ \text{Range} = 15 – 5 = 10 ]

**Interquartile Range (IQR):**

Sort the data: ( 5, 7, 8, 8, 10, 12, 15 )

( Q1 = 7 ) (median of the lower half)

( Q3 = 12 ) (median of the upper half)

[ \text{IQR} = Q3 – Q1 = 12 – 7 = 5 ]

**Variance and Standard Deviation:**

[ \text{Mean} (\bar{x}) = \frac{5 + 7 + 8 + 8 + 10 + 12 + 15}{7} = \frac{65}{7} \approx 9.29 ]

[ \text{Variance} = \frac{\Sigma_{i=1}^{7} (x_i – \bar{x})^2}{7} ]

[ \text{Standard Deviation} = \sqrt{\text{Variance}} ]

### Interpretation:

- A smaller range, IQR, variance, or standard deviation indicates less spread or variability in the data.
- A larger value for these measures suggests greater spread or variability.

Understanding the spread of data is essential for assessing the consistency and reliability of the dataset. Different measures of spread are suitable for different types of data and can provide valuable insights into the characteristics of the dataset.