# Confidence Interval Concepts

Initial Post Instructions Find an example of a confidence interval in the news, scholarly source or medical journal. Summarize the article/study. Does the article/study include the sample size and the level of confidence used to create the confidence interval? Explain what the confidence interval means in context of the news article or scholarly source. Professor post: What is a confidence interval? A confidence interval is a range around a measurement that conveys how precise the measurement is. For most chronic disease and injury programs, the measurement in question is a proportion or a rate (the percent of New Yorkers who exercise regularly or the lung cancer incidence rate). Confidence intervals are often seen on the news when the results of polls are released. This is an example from the Associated Press in October 1996: The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll showed 56 percent favored Clinton while 39 percent would vote for Dole. The ABC News-Washington Post telephone poll of 1,014 adults was conducted March 8-10 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. (Emphasis added). Although it is not stated, the margin of error presented here was probably the 95 percent confidence interval. In the simplest terms, this means that there is a 95 percent chance that between 35.5 percent and 42.5 percent of voters would vote for Bob Dole (39 percent plus or minus 3.5 percent). Conversely, there is a 5 percent chance that fewer than 35.5 percent of voters or more than 42.5 percent of voters would vote for Bob Dole. The precise statistical definition of the 95 percent confidence interval is that if the telephone poll were conducted 100 times, 95 times the percent of respondents favoring Bob Dole would be within the calculated confidence intervals and five times the percent favoring Dole would be either higher or lower than the range of the confidence intervals. Excerpted from: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/chronic/confint.htm

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