See the live dashboard for CensusAtSchool 2023-2024

Video: Towards Confidence Intervals [5 min]

We revise key ideas from the “Random Error” videos on the question, “How wrong could I be?” We then introduce thoughts about margins of error and confidence intervals as a way forward, but run up against a seemingly insurmountable problem.

(See also the Review Questions following this video.)

[Illustrated transcript (pdf)]

After you’ve watched this video, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What is the most reliable way we know of obtaining data about populations without misleading biases? Why is this method not perfect?
  • What happens whenever we use data from a sample to estimate a population quantity?
  • What do we do about that?
  • If you have an estimate of a population quantity and know its margin of error, within what limits should the true value lie?
  • Why does estimating the extent of sampling error in a practical application seem like an impossible problem?

If you couldn’t answer a question, you might find it helpful to look at the Illustrated transcript.

Add a teaching resource

Have you created a resource which is suitable for CensusAtSchool and you would like to share with other teachers?

Add your resource