What Is the Importance of Margin of Error in Statistics?

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Margin of error is very important in determining just how accurate statistics really are. Find out about the importance of margin of error in statistics with help from a mathematics educator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Statistics 101
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Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang, and we're here to talk about what is the importance of the margin of error in statistics. Now the margin of error is often used in polling and surveys and in the political seasons often there is a lot of polls whether it be statewide, local or nationwide polls. Now what the margin of error tells you is it gives you a glimpse as to how many people were surveyed and the smaller the margin of error, that tells you the more people that they interviewed for the particular poll. Now for example, the formula of the margin of error is 1 over the square root of N where N is the total number of people that were interviewed for the survey. Now if you interview let's just say 200 people for example, the formula will be 1 over the square root of 200. Now, when you find this particular formula, you'll find that the margin of error is going to be a little bit on the high side. You'll have a somewhat high margin of error. If you were to interview let's just say 1,000 people it would be 1 over the square root of 1,000. Now, the larger the denominator, the smaller the number itself. Well that's actually a good thing for us because the smaller the margin of error, the more accurate the survey seems to be. So what you want to look for here when it comes to the importance of the margin of error is the smaller the margin of error, the more accurate the survey is. Because the larger the margin of error, then that means there is more potential for the statistics to be a little bit more out there. So what you want to look for are polls and surveys with small margin of errors and that will give you an idea as to what their accuracy is going to be. So, I'm Jimmy Chang, and that addresses the issue what is the importance of the margin of error in statistics.

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