Tech Writing - Is 'Overall Average' redudnant?

Hey Everyone,

Maybe I'm jumping at shadows after a busy week so far... :)

I encountered the following in something I'm reviewing (redacted)
"This field displays the overall average for all vendors."

But isn't "average" by definition, imply "overall"? I'm thinking I should remove "overall".

Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAsked:
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Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
I would say "depends".

If it is plausible in the context of the text that the "average" might refer to a subset of the data, such as values with outliers removed, or just males or whatever, then "overall average" would make sense. If no other such averages have been mentioned, and it is pretty obvious that all data is included, then "average" would be enough. Ie, "average female height 1.64M, average male height 1.81M., overall average 1.72".

Unless it is clear, you might also consider using "mean", or "mean average" to clarify further. Some types of data, such as real estate  prices use a median or other types of average.
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Wow...lots of good info there. I'll have to find out (I'm documenting some charts and graphs in an application) what they mean by "average". My gut feeling is that it's


And, the text (it's a tooltip) clearly states that it's the overall average for all vendors. (Emphasis is mine. :) )

That's it for me for this evening. Will be back online tomorrow.

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I agree "it depends".   If you are look at (reviewing) several things (that are somehow related) then "overall average" means average of all the related things (to me at least). If you have several things and say just "average", you would need to say what thing the average refers to.

Somewhat difficult to say precisely with the given information.
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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks, John. To shed a bit more light on the context, the full sentence is:
"This field is normalized against the overall average for all vendors."
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks for the explanation and in this case "overall" fits properly.

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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks, guys. Happy Holidays!
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thank you and same to you. I have no clients booked now until early January
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Enjoy the time off!
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