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Lecture# Uncertainty and Significant Figures

Description

This lecture covers an overview of confidence intervals, margin of error, effective coverage, pivots, and significant figures. It explains how to determine uncertainty, precision, and the number of significant figures from a confidence interval. The slides discuss the construction of confidence intervals, the Wilson score confidence interval for the maximum likelihood estimator, and the importance of reporting numbers at an appropriate precision level.

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Related concepts (34)

In statistics, the coverage probability, or coverage for short, is the probability that a confidence interval or confidence region will include the true value (parameter) of interest. It can be defined as the proportion of instances where the interval surrounds the true value as assessed by long-run frequency. The fixed degree of certainty pre-specified by the analyst, referred to as the confidence level or confidence coefficient of the constructed interval, is effectively the nominal coverage probability of the procedure for constructing confidence intervals.

In frequentist statistics, a confidence interval (CI) is a range of estimates for an unknown parameter. A confidence interval is computed at a designated confidence level; the 95% confidence level is most common, but other levels, such as 90% or 99%, are sometimes used. The confidence level, degree of confidence or confidence coefficient represents the long-run proportion of CIs (at the given confidence level) that theoretically contain the true value of the parameter; this is tantamount to the nominal coverage probability.

The margin of error is a statistic expressing the amount of random sampling error in the results of a survey. The larger the margin of error, the less confidence one should have that a poll result would reflect the result of a census of the entire population. The margin of error will be positive whenever a population is incompletely sampled and the outcome measure has positive variance, which is to say, whenever the measure varies. The term margin of error is often used in non-survey contexts to indicate observational error in reporting measured quantities.

Estimation theory is a branch of statistics that deals with estimating the values of parameters based on measured empirical data that has a random component. The parameters describe an underlying physical setting in such a way that their value affects the distribution of the measured data. An estimator attempts to approximate the unknown parameters using the measurements.

In statistics, maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) is a method of estimating the parameters of an assumed probability distribution, given some observed data. This is achieved by maximizing a likelihood function so that, under the assumed statistical model, the observed data is most probable. The point in the parameter space that maximizes the likelihood function is called the maximum likelihood estimate. The logic of maximum likelihood is both intuitive and flexible, and as such the method has become a dominant means of statistical inference.