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# Margin of error 2

Finding the 95% confidence interval for the proportion of a population voting for a candidate. Created by Sal Khan.

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• At : Why is there 2 sigma of the sampling mean? •  Good question. Sal did something different here than in previous videos. Previously, when finding the 95% confidence interval, he looked up the Z-score on a Z-table. Since Z-tables are organized by percentile (the entire area to the left of the confidence limit), he first had to say, "A 95% interval is equal to 95 / 2 + 50 = 97.5% percentile."

Then he looked up that percentile, 0.9750, on the Z-table and got a Z-score of 1.96. Finally, he multiplied the Z-score by the standard deviation of the sampling distribution, sigma(x-bar). If you do that here, you get (1.96)(0.05) = 0.098. That is the true 95% confidence interval.

But in this video, Sal used a rule of thumb that says 95% confidence is approximately equal to 2 standard deviations around the mean. So he used an approximate Z-score of 2 instead of the actual Z-score of 1.96. And doing this he got a confidence interval of 0.1 rather than the true 0.098.

It's a good rule of thumb, but to be strictly accurate, you should just remember that 1.96 is ALWAYS the Z-score for a 95% confidence interval (unless you have a small sample size and are using a t-table).
• Can i say that if I have a good amount of samples, 95% of the means of those samples will fall within the range of the confidence interval? My teacher emphasized that we couldn't say the population mean has 95% of chance being in that interval, because the population mean is a constant. It is either in that range or not. My interpretation is we are confident that 95% of the time our sample means will fall within the range we construct around the true population mean in the sampling distribution of the population. Is that correct? • if we had the population standard deviation (sigma), (which I don't think we ever do) then it seems to me that everything you say is the correct way to look at it. But since we have only our sample standard deviation (s), then doesn't the 95% have a little bit of uncertainty? I think the SEM uses s/sqrt(n) while the central limit theorem uses sigma/sqrt(n).
• How come there's a greater probability for candidate A to win even though more people are voting for candidate B? I mean, I get the calculation and everything but how is this possible? • Am I correct that the margin of error is INcorrect at the end of this video? 0.43 +/- 0.1 equates to a margin of error of 0.1/0.43 ~ 23%. This will give the proper range, 0.33 to 0.53. • The range mentioned in the video itself is 33% and 53% which is the same as 0.33 to 0.53 (just in percentage instead). The margin of error is 10% which is +/- 0.1 (again just in percentage).

Your margin of error comes from the 'estimate' standard deviation, and nothing else. As such, I am not really sure as to why you are dividing 0.1 by 0.43 to get 23%.
• What does "sampling distribution of the sample means" say that "distribution of the sample means" doesn't? And, does "sampling distribution" denote anything in particular (that is: Is the term self explanatory, without rote memorization?) (Does it mean "distribution of statistics from different samples around their corresponding population statistics"?) .
(1 vote) • > "What does "sampling distribution of the sample means" say that "distribution of the sample means" doesn't?"

Nothing, they are equivalent. The second is just slightly less of a mouthful to say/write.

> "And, does "sampling distribution" denote anything in particular ... Does it mean "distribution of statistics from different samples around their corresponding population statistics"?"

Your question is answered by your "guess" of the answer. A sampling distribution is the distribution of a statistic over many repeated samples. Hopefully, the corresponding population parameter will be in the middle of that sampling distribution.

Also: Note that a statistic corresponds to the sample, a parameter corresponds to the population. So, e.g., s² is a statistic, σ² is a parameter.
• I don't understand why P( x bar is within two times of standard deviation of u) is equal to P(u is within two times of standard deviation of x bar). Since u is a unknown constant which won't change, but as Sal said, x bar is just one of the sample mean and we can have thousands of these kind of sample mean which located within two times of standard deviation. In other words, x bar is a changing variable, but u is a constant. I can easily understand P( x bar is within two times of standard deviation of u), but I don't think that P(u is within two times of standard deviation of x bar) is equal to the previous one. Only if both of x bar and u are constant, we can say they are equal. otherwise, they could never be equal. More over, I don't know how to calculate P(u is within two times of standard deviation of x bar). What did I miss? Thanks for the answer. • This is what we know with certainty, from the central limit theorem - that sample means have a normal distribution around mu.
This means that there is a 68% probability that mu and our sample mean are within sigma/sqrt(n) of each other, right? (If our sample mean is x from mu, then how far is mu from our sample mean? If there is a 68% probability that our sample mean is within x of mu, what's the probability that mu is within x of our sample mean?).
We use (sample standard deviation)/sqrt(n) (called SEM) as an approximation to sigma/sqrt(n) for the standard deviation, since we don't have sigma.
(1 vote)
• How come (x bar within 2 sigma x bar of mean of mu x bar ) is same as
(mu x bar within 2 sigma x bar of x bar )
How are they interchangeable ? Can anyone please clarify this concept mathematically/graphically though intuitively it looks ok ? • The way Sal explained it in an earlier video is that, for a range, the order of the start and end points don't matter. That is, the distance from A to B is the same as the distance from B to A. For confidence interval problems, we're given that distance (in this case it's 95%, or roughly 2 SD's) and asked to estimate a range for the true mean by using our sample mean and estimate of standard deviation.
• So just confirming; Is margin of error roughly the same thing as a confidence interval except that the confidence interval is described in terms of the standard deviation and the margin of error is a plan error?
(1 vote) • Margins of error are generally also given in terms of standard deviations. Sometimes I've seen the margin of error given as 1 SD (basically, reporting the mean and SD or the mean and SE). A confidence interval is formed by very specific multiples of the SD that give us the probability bounds. And in fact, it's really just made from calculating a specific margin of error.

For the normal distribution, if we multiply the SE by 1.96, we have the margin of error for a 95% confidence interval. If we take the sample mean and subtract that margin of error, and add that margin of error, we get (xbar-ME, xbar+ME), which forms the 95% confidence interval.
• Suppose we take p as 0.57 then we will end up in high marginal error what does this mean? How can we interpret two different marginal errors for the same sample? • Is margin of error somehow connected to 95% confidence interval or is this only the case in our example?
(1 vote) • Yes, the confidence interval is computed by:
(xbar - moe, xbar + moe)

Though this doesn't have to be 95%, margins of error (and confidence intervals) can be computer for any level of confidence between 0 and 100 (not including 0 and 100).

Also, confidence intervals for other parameters than the mean (say, for the variance) will follow a different format.