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The use of randomly selected samples to draw conclusions about populations. It includes estimation (point and interval) and hypothesis testing. In estimation, numerical characteristics of samples (called statistics) are used to estimate the characteristics of populations (called parameters). In point estimation, the single value of a sample statistic is used as the best point estimate of the population parameter. In interval estimation, sampling theory is used to determine confidence intervals and indicate the general accuracy of the interval estimates. Rather than using a single number, as in point estimation, an interval estimate is a range of values that captures the true value of the population parameter a known percentage of the time (e.g., “95% confidence intervals” include the parameter 95% of the time in the ...

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