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APPLICATION OF STATISTICAL CONCEPTS IN THE DETERMINATION

OF WEIGHT VARIATION IN SAMPLES

D. J. Q. YTAC
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES, DILIMAN, QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES
DATE PERFORMED: 27 AUG 2013
INSTRUCTOR’S NAME: ERICKA ITANG

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

1. Discuss the significance of standard deviation.

It is one of the methods used to describe the precision of a data set and show how a sample
differs from the mean. Sample standard deviation was used in the experiment since there were only
small data sets. A lower standard deviation means that the values deviate from the mean less than if
it was higher; therefore, the values are closer to each other and are more precise [1].

2. Discuss the significance of confidence limits.

Confidence limits define the confidence interval: the range surrounding the experimentally
determined mean and in which the population mean is expected to lie with a certain degree of
probability [1]. Use of these is only valid when there are no determinate errors. Furthermore, a 95%
confidence level and around two standard deviations (such as the one in the experiment) are often
used to estimate validity of the measurements [2].

3. Discuss the significance of Grubb’s Test.

The Grubb’s Test is used to compare the highest and lowest values (outliers) of a data set
having normal distribution, with the average and standard deviation. Results of this test are helpful
in determining if a certain value should be rejected or retained. Q-test can be a substitute for this
test [2].

4. Discuss how the statistical parameters calculated from data set 1 compared to those obtained
from data set 2.

In data set 1, the mean, standard deviation, and relative standard deviation are higher than
in data set 2. These indicate that the values of data set 1 are nearer each other (higher precision).
The range is the same for both data sets since the highest and lowest values for each set are also the
same. Though, the relative range of data set 2 is higher than data set 1, meaning there is a larger
spread between its highest and lowest values when related to the mean. Data set 1 having larger
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absolute value of confidence limits signifies a higher probability that the true value lies within the
limits [1].

5. Discuss the significance of pooled standard deviation.

Pooling (combining) the standard deviation of different data sets is done to obtain a more
accurate standard deviation when the data sets have the same sources of random error. The pooled
estimate of the standard deviation is an average of the individual estimates [3].

6. Discuss the 3 types of experimental error. Give examples of each type.

The three types are random (indeterminate), systematic (determinate), and gross errors.
The first type, random error, affects the precision of measurements resulting to more scattered
data. It is caused by the many uncontrollable variables for each experiment. An example is the
changes in temperature during the experiment in determining the equilibrium constant of a
reaction using spectrophotometry. On the other hand, a systematic error affects measurement
accuracy by causing all the results to either be too high or too low. The loss of a volatile analyte
while heating a sample is a systematic error. The last type, gross error, is often “human error” such
as losing some parts of a precipitate before weighing. This type results to outliers in measurements
[1].

7. Discuss the Gaussian/normal distribution and the requirements for a data set to have a normal
distribution.

The graph of a Gaussian distribution is a bell-shaped curve where the most frequent
occurrence is of zero deviation from the mean and extremes (maximum and minimum values) are
of higher deviation [1].

8. Discuss the rationale behind the use of forceps/crucible tongs in handling the coins.

This was done to ensure that there are no fingerprints on the samples for these could add
weight to the samples and affect the results by causing gross error [2].

REFERENCES

[1] Skoog, D. A., West, D. M., Holler, F. J., Crouch, S. R. Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry 9th ed.
Cengage Learning. 2013.
[2] Punzalan, J. et. al., Quantitative Inorganic Analysis Laboratory Manual, 2007 ed. (2007).
[3] Harvey, D. Modern Analytical Chemistry. McGraw-Hill Companies. 2000.

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