Given the numbers:


I want to find the first quartile, so I first find the median $ = 3.$ Now I can split the numbers in the this way:




Now to find the first quartile or $Q_1$ I must find the median between $(1,2)$. So that is equal to $(1+2)/2 = 1.5$.

So according to my calculation above $Q_1=1.5$.

If I am correct then why when I search online do I get formulas for the first quartile as such:

$Q_1 = \lceil{\frac{1}{4}(n+1)}\rceil th \ term$

using that formula here $Q_1$ would be $\frac{1}{4} (6) = \lceil1.5\rceil = 2$ ,which is position $2$ which is $2$.

Now obviously $2 \neq 1.5$. So am I wrong in my above calculation ?

Also this brings a curious phenomenon. Does $Q_1$, $Q_3$ never need to be average like the median ? The median in case of even terms needs to be averaged. But why not the other quartiles ?

What am I missing here?


1 Answer 1


In this case $n = 5$, so when you calculate the position, it would be $\frac{1}{4}(6) = 1.5$. This would be the average between the first and second position, which is also $1.5$. It is notable that for some sets, whether the median is included in each lower and upper half affects the selection of the quartiles.

  • $\begingroup$ @Maynank I have edited the question to include the actual formula of the nearest percentile rank. The actual formula includes a ceiling function, which according to the calculations would mean ceil(1.5) = 2. Thus it is incorrect. $\endgroup$
    – ng.newbie
    Sep 10, 2019 at 9:04

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