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A probability sample can provide a point estimate of an unknown population parameter and the standard error of that point estimate. This information can be used to construct a confidence interval to give an estimated range of values around the point estimate that is likely to include the unknown population parameter.

For example, assume that a soda can-filling plant fills soda cans at an average rate of 1,000 to 1,500 cans per minute. Several filling nozzles are simultaneously used to fill the cans. Electronic sensors are used to ensure that the filled amount is within specified limits. Due to inherent variability in the filling process, it is impossible to fill an exact amount (355 milliliters [ml]) of soda in each can. As a final quality ...

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