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The error bound formula for a population mean when the population standard deviation is known is
EBM = ( z α 2 ) ( σ n ) .

The formula for sample size is n = z 2 σ 2 E B M 2 , found by solving the error bound formula for n .

In this formula, z is z α 2 , corresponding to the desired confidence level. A researcher planning a study who wants a specified confidence level and error bound can use this formula to calculate the size of the sample needed for the study.

The population standard deviation for the age of Foothill College students is 15 years. If we want to be 95% confident that the sample mean age is within two years of the true population mean age of Foothill College students, how many randomly selected Foothill College students must be surveyed?

  • From the problem, we know that σ = 15 and EBM = 2.
  • z = z 0.025 = 1.96, because the confidence level is 95%.
  • n = z 2 σ 2 E B M 2 = ( 1.96 ) 2 ( 15 ) 2 2 2 = 216.09 using the sample size equation.
  • Use n = 217: Always round the answer UP to the next higher integer to ensure that the sample size is large enough.

Therefore, 217 Foothill College students should be surveyed in order to be 95% confident that we are within two years of the true population mean age of Foothill College students.

Try it

The population standard deviation for the height of high school basketball players is three inches. If we want to be 95% confident that the sample mean height is within one inch of the true population mean height, how many randomly selected students must be surveyed?

35 students


“American Fact Finder.” U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/searchresults.xhtml?refresh=t (accessed July 2, 2013).

“Disclosure Data Catalog: Candidate Summary Report 2012.” U.S. Federal Election Commission. Available online at http://www.fec.gov/data/index.jsp (accessed July 2, 2013).

“Headcount Enrollment Trends by Student Demographics Ten-Year Fall Trends to Most Recently Completed Fall.” Foothill De Anza Community College District. Available online at http://research.fhda.edu/factbook/FH_Demo_Trends/FoothillDemographicTrends.htm (accessed September 30,2013).

Kuczmarski, Robert J., Cynthia L. Ogden, Shumei S. Guo, Laurence M. Grummer-Strawn, Katherine M. Flegal, Zuguo Mei, Rong Wei, Lester R. Curtin, Alex F. Roche, Clifford L. Johnson. “2000 CDC Growth Charts for the United States: Methods and Development.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available online at http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/2000growthchart-us.pdf (accessed July 2, 2013).

La, Lynn, Kent German. "Cell Phone Radiation Levels." c|net part of CBX Interactive Inc. Available online at http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phone-radiation-levels/ (accessed July 2, 2013).

“Mean Income in the Past 12 Months (in 2011 Inflaction-Adjusted Dollars): 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.” American Fact Finder, U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_1YR_S1902&prodType=table (accessed July 2, 2013).

Questions & Answers

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Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
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In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
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after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
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