# Interpreting Data

This unit has focused extensively on the United States Fire Administration’s Fire in the United States 2008-2017, 20th edition. You were challenged to explore the quantitative data that was collected and analyzed as part of the study. Now, you will be tasked with applying that knowledge to interpreting the results of this study within the greater context of fire and emergency services organizations. This assignment will have two parts: one Excel document and one paper.

Part 1: Mean, Median, and Mode

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The attached data table is an example of the number of annual confirmed building fires in eight random communities in the fictional state of Heimsford, located in the Midwest part of the United States. The data collected represents 12 years’ worth of information. This exercise will provide you with a data set to work with and allow you to learn how to use data tables, basic statistical mathematical functions, and Microsoft Excel.

However, the value of this exercise is not to focus on who had the most or least fires each year, but rather to look at data and its value in the bigger picture of protecting the community and identifying solutions. This assignment is an example of how you, as an aspiring officer in your organization, may be called upon to evaluate a situation using math and data tables that are produced from your records management system.

Open the Data Table and determine the sample size, mean, standard deviation, mode, and median for each of the eight data sets. Enter your answers in the indicated columns in this form. Once you enter the calculations for each data set, review the information and provide a short summary interpreting the data, indicating what types of adjustments may be necessary. Enter your summary in the “Data Interpretation” box in the Excel spreadsheet.

How can the mean, standard deviation, median, and mode be used to draw conclusions about the data set as a whole and allow you draw conclusions when comparing between cities?

Note: There are several fields where the data is marked at zero (0). This means that the city did not report any data for that year or years. The lack of information can skew your data when trying to compare between data sets. You must decide how to handle that data abnormality, and you will need to justify your reasoning. Do you include the zeroes or exclude them? Why? Enter how you handled the data abnormality and your justification in the “Notes” box in the Excel spreadsheet.

For assistance with this assignment, watch a video that describes how to use Excel to assist with calculating data.

Part 2: Data Analysis

In 700–1,050 words, respond to the following questions regarding the United States Fire Administration’s Fire in the United States 2008-2017, 20th edition.

• Where does the data in this report come from?
• How is the data in this report presented?
• What does the data reflect about the United States’ efforts in reducing the incidence of fire within the nation?
• How could a qualitative or mixed methods research approach provide additional depth to this study?
• What should fire and emergency services leaders do with the data presented in this report?

Cite a minimum of two outside credible sources to support your assertions, being sure to use APA format and citation guidelines.

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