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Confidence intervals are tools used by researchers to evaluate the precision of population estimates, such that they provide more information about the likely range of the parameter within the population. This is to say that a confidence interval moves beyond simply estimating the mean for some measure within a population, and provides a range along which this parameter is likely to exist within the population. By taking the dispersion of measured scores into account, it provides the researcher with an idea of how confident he or she can be in the population estimate, and in some cases can be used to ascertain the appropriateness of sample or treatment group size.

This entry discusses confidence intervals, their calculation, and their use in varying contexts. It begins by ...

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