A-Z Popular Blog Quality Search »
Information Science
Related Guides
Digital Preservation

Related Topics

Information Culture

Information Things

Written Records

Information Assurance

Information Analysis

Information Flow

Information Management

11 Examples of Precision

 , updated on
Precision is the closeness of agreement between multiple sources or representations of information. The following are illustrative examples of precision.


Precision is often compared to accuracy. Precision relates to the amount of useful detail provided by information. For example, the number 3.1415926535 is a more precise representation of PI than 3.14. Accuracy relates to whether information is correct and true. Information can be precise but fully incorrect. In other words, you can give lots of useful detail about something but still be totally wrong. Accuracy is about correctness. If you say, "the Sun is big" this is perhaps accurate but not very precise.
In the diagram above, only the readings near the center of the target are accurate.


Precision is the difference between a measurement and its true value. This can be estimated by taking multiple measurements of the same thing and calculating the standard deviation of the set. For example, the four measurements in the red experiment below are more precise than the four measurements of the yellow experiment.


Sensitivity is the number of true positives that are correctly identified by a test. For example, the number of people who are sick who are correctly identified by a blood test for a disease. Sensitivity is a type of precision.


Specificity is the number of true negatives that are correctly identified by a test. This is another type of precision. For example, the number of healthy people who are correctly identified as not having a disease by a particular test.


Rounding numbers reduces precision because a rounded number is likely to be further from the underlying true value. For example, 14.8763323989974 is more precise than the same number rounded to 14.9.


Resolution is the ability of a measurement to capture significant digits. For example, a scale that measures a banana as 0.335434634374232211 pounds as opposed to a scale that measures a banana as 0.34 pounds. This has the same effect as rounding as a low resolution tool or process produces measurements that are further from true values.


An imprecision in an input value can result in a proportional or larger imprecision in the output of a calculation. For example, a radar gun determines an object moved 100 meters in 4.4 seconds rounded down from the true value of 4.4499 seconds. This results in the following calculation of speed.
3600 / (4.4 × 10) = 81.818181 kmh or 50.839461 mph = 51 mph
Using the more precise true value of 4.4499:
3600 / (4.4499 × 10) = 80.900694 kmh or 50.2693606836 = 50 mph
As such, by rounding the input parameter the calculation becomes less precise.


Language is commonly imprecise. This is done to make information interesting, short and consumable. For example, you might say "Japan has experienced deflation for 20 years." This isn't at all precise as it doesn't mention what years or how much deflation occurred. However, it gets across a general point that is somewhat truthful. A more precise way of saying the same thing would be to state that Japan's consumer price index was a 100.8 in January 1994 and 100.7 in January 2014 indicating that over a period of 20 years prices had stayed more or less the same despite years of mild deflation mixed with years of mild inflation.

Thought & Memory

Human thought processes and memory tend to deal with high level concepts and impressions as opposed to precise detail. This is one of the primary differences between man and machine. A digital photograph will capture visual information with some precision that remains relatively unchanged with the exception of wear and tear on the media where it is stored. People tend to have high level and conceptual memories of what they see that quickly fade with time and can be influenced by later emotions and information.


Beyond information, precision can be used to describe the sameness of work outputs. For example, a robot drilling holes all day whereby each hole looks identical unless you use a high powered microscope to identify minor differences.


Humans don't tend to be as precise as machines and commonly rely on machines to increase the precision of their work. In some cases, imprecision is valued because it is a sign of human artistic abilities. For example, a wabi-sabi aesthetic that is achieved by producing imperfect pottery by hand.


The following is a basic overview of precision with additional examples.
Overview: Precision
Definition (1)
The amount of useful detail provided by information.
Definition (2)
The closeness of agreement between multiple sources or representations of information.
Definition (3)
The sameness of work products.
Related Concepts
Next: Accuracy

Information Science

This is the complete list of articles we have written about information science.
Confidential Information
Filter Bubble
Information Analysis
Information Culture
Information Flow
Information Literacy
Information Management
Information Quality
Information Security
Information Sources
IT Examples
Written Records
More ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Information Science

A list of information science techniques and considerations.

Natural Language vs Formal Language

The difference between natural and formal language.


A definition of non-repudiation with several common examples.

Actionable Information

The common elements of actionable information.


A definition of entropy with examples.

Information Requirements

The common types of information requirements.

Information Analysis

The definition of information analysis with examples.


A complete overview of ambiguity with examples.

Information Industry

A list of information industries.


An overview of low quality with examples.

Defect Rate

A definition of defect rate with 4 calculation examples.

Quality Requirements

Common examples of quality requirements.

Critical To Quality

A definition of critical to quality with examples.

Perceived Value

The definition of perceived value with examples.

Document Quality

The common types of document quality.


The definition of standard with examples.


The definition of diligence with examples.

Product Analysis

The definition of product analysis with examples.


The definition of imperfection with examples.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map


Consumer Price Index of All Items in Japan, Index 2010=100, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis.