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Is precision a "quality" of a measurement?

Is there a better (accepted by the literature) word?

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  • $\begingroup$ I imagine this will be a controversial closure - as always, I'm open to arguments for reopening, but before you comment, please read the comments on HDE's answer which clarify the meaning of the question. $\endgroup$ – David Z Mar 21 '11 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ Quality is can be the measure of width of a Gaussian distribution. Given a series of measurements on the same condition, a distribution of errors will exist. The width of this distribution is the precision, which I wouldn't argue to also call quality in the above sense. The center of this distribution is the accuracy. Now I also wouldn't argue that an inaccurate measurement is of low quality, if accuracy was required. Barometric altimeters come to mind: they are wildly inaccurate due to changes in weather, but more precise than GPS. Quality is just not a good word metrology. $\endgroup$ – Michael Jul 15 '14 at 20:40
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No, precision = detail, it's accuracy that could be related to quality (and it implies precision too)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision

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    $\begingroup$ Ah, In German we call that "Wiederholgenauigkeit" that word is much more accurate and precise :=) $\endgroup$ – Georg Mar 21 '11 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Georg is right, Repeatability is a condition for precision, then as it's very hard to repeat that long German word, perhaps it's not so precise :o) $\endgroup$ – HDE Mar 21 '11 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ That's not what I meant. I'm asking what is "precision" to a measurement? Is it a "characteristic" of the measurement? Is it a "quality" of the measurement? I'm looking for the right word. I'm not saying that precision is related to the measurement quality. $\endgroup$ – John Assymptoth Mar 21 '11 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE, You cant have the cake and eat it. As a matter of fact, contrary to popular wievs in general, German is more concise (and shorter) in Science, Technology and Philosophy. But nevertheless, the pun in my comment was unavoidable :=) $\endgroup$ – Georg Mar 21 '11 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ When exactly did this become thesaurus.se? $\endgroup$ – wsc Mar 21 '11 at 16:13

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