Definition: Error

Statistical concept; Peer reviews

In general, a mistake or error in the colloquial sense. There may, for example, be a gross error or avoidable mistake; an error of reference, when data concerning one phenomenon are attributed to another; copying errors; an error of interpretation. 

In a more limited sense the word error is used in statistics to denote the difference between an occurring value and its true or expected value. There is here no imputation of mistakes on the part of a human agent; the deviation is a chance effect. In this sense we have, for example, errors of observations, errors in equations, errors of the first and second kinds in the testing hypothesis, and the error band surrounding an estimate; and also the normal curve of errors itself.
Eurostat, Manfred EHLING, Thomas KÖRNER and others, "Handbook on Data Quality Assessment Methods and Tools", Wiesbaden, 2007

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