Terminology 101. Confidence intervals: Part 2.
The Canadian nurse
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Part 1, which appeared in the February 2012 issue, introduced the concept of confidence intervals (CIs) for mean values. This article explains how to compare the CIs of two mean scores to draw a conclusion about whether or not they are statistically different. Two mean scores are said to be statistically different if their respective CIs do not overlap. Overlap of the CIs suggests that the scores may represent the same “true” population value; in other words, the true difference in the mean scores may be equivalent to zero. Some researchers choose to provide the CI for the difference of two mean scores instead of providing a separate CI for each of the mean scores. In that case, the difference in the mean scores is said to be statistically significant if its CI does not include zero (e.g., if the lower limit is 10 and the upper limit is 30). If the CI includes zero (e.g., if the lower limit is -10 and the upper limit is 30), we conclude that the observed difference is not statistically significant.
El-Masri, M. M.. (2012). Terminology 101. Confidence intervals: Part 2.. The Canadian nurse, 108 (5), 10-10.