Sampling uncertainty

Sampling uncertainty can depend of various sources:

  • the standard deviation of the Binomial distribution
  • the sampling uncertainty in terms of Hartley’s information theory [Klir & Folger 1988], where the average uncertainty in the state (acceptable or rejectable) of a certain type of entity as decreased by sampling is:
    • where the Hartley information content is:
      and where base ‘2’ corresponds to the two possible states of information: acceptable or rejectable entity [Schneider et al 1986], and finite sample size, Nsample.
    • When statistical sampling uncertainties dominate:
  • where d is the number of non-conforming items and p = d/Nsample, is the fraction, which is also the probability of sampling that fraction. The average, , is distributed according to the Binomial distribution.



Klir G J and Folger T A 1988 “Fuzzy sets, uncertainty and information”, Prentice Hall, New Jersey ISBN 0-13-345984-5

L R Pendrill 2008, “Operating ‘cost’ characteristics in sampling by variable and attribute” Accred. Qual. Assur., 13, pp. 619-31, DOI: 10.1007/s00769-008-0438-y

Schneider T D, Stormo G D, Gold L and Ehrenfeuch A 1986 “The information content of binding sites on nucleotide sequences“, J. Mol. Biol. 188, 415 – 31



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