Accuracy and Precision - Essay

Topics: Measurement, Accuracy and precision, Measuring instrument Pages: 2 (711 words) Published: March 29, 2012
Accuracy and precision both relate to the quality of a measure. However, the terms have separate meanings and should not be applied as an alternate for the other. The meaning of accuracy is the extent to which a given measurement agrees with the standard value for that measurement. The meaning of precision is the degree to which the correctness of a quantity is articulated. The difference between accuracy and precision is like playing a game of darts. There can have several outcomes by shooting three arrows. If all three arrows hit the bulls’ eye, this would show accuracy and precision. If all three arrows hit the dartboard near each other but not in the bulls’ eye, which would show precise, except not accurate. However, if all three darts were to hit the same spot in the bulls eye, it would show accuracy but precise. On the contrary, if all three darts hit the dart board in different places on the board would not show accuracy or precision.

 Today, society depends on the accuracy and precision of measurements for products sold by the retail industry for many reasons. One example is, medication or other pharmaceuticals need to be extremely accurate measurements because doctors rely on the accuracy when they prescribe medication, they are assuming a level of accuracy from the pill or medication otherwise a person can die from taking the wrong dose of something. Therefore, if medication is precise but not accurate that could mean anything. A pharmaceutical company can be precise in producing pills with the same dosage, but if that dosage is not accurate than it could kill someone. Another example could be the gasoline idea, especially considering gas prices right now. If someone is advertising $3.29/gallon but their pump is charging that much for every 4/5 of a gallon, their pump is precise because it keeps charging the same for everyone, but it is not accurate. Another idea is baking. Say someone is making a ton of cookies for a...
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