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1.8: Accuracy and Precision

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Accuracy and Precision

1.8: Accuracy and Precision

Scientists typically make repeated measurements of a quantity to ensure the quality of their findings and to evaluate both the precision and the accuracy of their results. Measurements are said to be precise if they yield very similar results when repeated in the same manner. A measurement is considered accurate if it yields a result that is very close to the true or the accepted value. Precise values agree with each other; accurate values agree with a true value.  Highly accurate measurements tend to be precise, too. However, highly precise measurements may not necessarily be accurate. For example, an improperly calibrated thermometer or a faulty weighing balance may give precise readings that are inaccurate.

This text is adapted from Openstax, Chemistry 2e, Section 1.5: Measurement Uncertainty, Accuracy, and Precision.


Accuracy Precision Measurements Repeated Quality Findings Evaluate True Value Accepted Value Similar Results Precise Values Accurate Values Highly Accurate Measurements Highly Precise Measurements Improperly Calibrated Thermometer Faulty Weighing Balance Measurement Uncertainty

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