What Is the Margin of Error? Estimation is the process by which sample data are used to indicate the value of an unknown quantity in a population. Results of estimation can be expressed as a single value, known as a point estimate; or a range of values, referred to as a confidence interval. Whenever we use point estimation, we calculate the margin of error associated with that point estimate. For example, for the estimation of the population proportion, by the means of sample proportion (p), the margin of error is calculated often as follows: ±1.96 [p(1-p)/n] 1/2 In newspapers and television reports on public opinion polls, the margin of error often appears in a small font at the bottom of a table or screen. However, reporting the amount of error only, is not informative enough by itself, what is missing is the degree of the confidence in the findings. The more important missing piece of information is the sample size n; that is, how many people participated in the survey, 100 or 100000? By now, you know well that the larger the sample size
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