Difference Between Accuracy and Precision (With Table)

Accuracy vs Precision

The key difference between Accuracy and Precision lies in the fact that while accuracy means the closeness of the actual measurement with the standard measurement basically correctness and fairness of something, on the other hand, precision means the closeness of various measurements with each other.

Accuracy has a single factor whereas precision has multiple factors. Accuracy deals with systematic errors and precision deals with random errors.

Accuracy and Precision are two words that often used by many in the same statement. But how many of you know the difference between them? When we ask differences, people say both are the same as they are considered as factors to validate the data either in terms of its context or measurement.

Accuracy refers to the degree of correctness and conformity of the subject under consideration. For example, an accuracy of the object, value, or experiment is a measurement of how closely they result in an absolute or true or accepted value.

While Precision is a measure of consistency and reliability, for example, the precision of object, value, or experiment is a measurement of the strict exactness i.e. how something can be consistently and strictly remain exact.

Accuracy and Precision are widely used in the fields of statistics, engineering, and science, where measurements conformity, correctness, and exactness are very vital as the slight differences can severely affect the outcomes or results.

Accuracy vs Precision

 

Comparison Table Between Accuracy and Precision (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAccuracyPrecision
DefinitionAccuracy is defined as the degree of correctness and conformity of something when the comparison is done against the absolute and true value.Precision can be seen as the state of exactness to strict compliance or defined value under reproducibility.
Relationship Between BothSome objects or products can be manufactured accurately by accident but to be reliably and consistently accurate, it needs to be always manufactured with precision.Results of an experiment can be precise but not accurate, whereas they can be precise and accurate at the same time.
FactorsSingle FactorMultiple Factor
Basis of FactorsConformity and CorrectnessExactness
Used InChemistry, Physics, statistics, engineering, and so on.Chemistry, Physics, statistics, engineering, and so on.

 

What is Accuracy?

Accuracy refers to the position where measurement is assessed to its closeness to its true value or degree of correctness. In rigid terms, it refers to the measurement in terms of its consistency and true.

An accurate measurement will not have either systematic or random error. Accuracy of an object gets its actual essence when it is both accurate and precise.

Let’s understand Accuracy with an example, some bullets are fired to a decided target. And measurements of all fired bullets are captured from the center of the target.

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Now here Accuracy will be defined as how close the bullets are fired to the center. How close a bullet was fired to the center, which will be seen as more accurate.

Repeat measurements can be taken to improve the Accuracy. To calculate accuracy, an average of repeat measurement is exerted to identify the conformity and closeness.

But it is assumed that the errors are randomly below and above the established true value of the equivalent degree.

Thus, an experiment can provide accurate results with a low degree of precision when proper and appropriate statics are used for calculations.

Explanation for Accuracy
 

What is Precision?

Precision means to the condition where your results remain consistently similar when measurements are taken repeatedly.

In Precision, a form of observational error occurs that makes the result values slightly different from each other because in each measurement random error happens.

Precision, in the conducted experiment, tells how your values of measurement agree or close to each other. The more close a measurement is to the other result measurement, your measurement is said to be more precise.

Let’s take one example to understand Precision with the help of the basketball game.

One player doesn’t make any basket or didn’t get any success in hitting but always strike or hit the same side of the rim, this means his precision in that direction is said to be more precise.

A precise measurement may also tell the quality of an instrument, whereas quality is not reflected by accurate measurement.

And precision can’t be improved by taking repeated measurements; it is improbable to quantify the values of precision without repeating experiments.

Explanation for Precision

Main Differences Between Accuracy and Precision

Accuracy and Precision are both very vital characteristics while doing any measurements or calculations.

They help to achieve the desired objective or goal by identifying the underlying errors or issues.

But to it’s also necessary to understand the difference between Accuracy and Precision to demark the associated factors

  1. Accuracy is the degree of correctness and conformity. It depicts the level of agreement between the absolute and actual measurements. Whereas Precision shows the level of differences or variations that lies in the resulted values of the measurements of the component. Precision depicts the degree of consistency achieved in reproducibility.
  2. Accuracy refers to the closeness of the measurement against the defined or actual measurement. Whereas Precision represents the closeness of each measurement to the others.
  3. Accuracy is a standard of statistical bias while Precision is the standard of analytical variations.
  4. In Accuracy, only a single factor is considered, while is Precision multiple factors are considered.
  5. Accuracy can be limited to one measurement, whereas multiple measurements are needed to evaluate Precision.
  6. Accuracy is critical when somebody wants to target specific things or points, whereas Precision is necessary while doing the calculations.
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How to Remember the Difference Between Accuracy and Precision

Time Needed : 2 minutes

Remembering the differences is very simple, just follow our mind mapping guide given below:

  1. Associate the first word with a thing or item which you see daily

    For e.g.: Middle line in letter H for Horizontal.

  2. Associate the second word with a thing or item which you see daily

    For e.g.: The two lines in letter V for Vertical.

  3. Recall the two words daily two times

    During morning and evening bring up the two words in front of you and then recall the things that you had associated with each word.

  4. Repeat for 7 days

    Repeating this process for a week will help you remember the difference between words for a long time.


 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Accuracy and Precision

  1. Can a measurement be precise but not accurate?

    It is possible for a measurement to be precise but not accurate. Precision states the closeness between two measurements.

    On the other hand, accuracy states the closeness of a measurement to the known value.

    In simpler terms, a measurement can be precise but not accurate and similarly it can be accurate but not very precise. Both are independent of each other.

  2. What is the accuracy formula?

    The formula of accuracy is:
    Accuracy = correctly predicted or classified items / total classified items

  3. How can you improve accuracy?

    There are different ways to improve accuracy. Some of the best ways to improve accuracy are:

    • Practice – There is no alternative to practice. The more you practice the better you get at it.

    • Learning – You have to learn as much as possible. Try to understand why a certain mistake happens and how to avoid it.

    • Checking – Always double-check everything. It will definitely reduce the margin of error as we easily overlook most of the errors the first time.

    • Slow down – Most of the errors occurred when you rush. Take the time and do not rush. Accuracy will improve.

  4. Do systematic errors affect precision or accuracy?

    Systematic errors affect the accuracy of measurement whereas precision is affected by random errors.

  5. What is the difference between accuracy and uncertainty?

    The difference between accuracy and uncertainty is that:

    a) Accuracy is the difference between the result of measurement and the true or known value of the thing to be measured. Hence, it states that a true value exists.

    b) Uncertainty indicates that measurements can never be perfect. It only expresses a range of values in which the result of the measurement is expected to lie. It does not care about true value.

  6. What are the different types of errors?

    There are generally three types of errors: gross errors, measurement errors, and blunders.
    Measurement errors are further divided into two categories:
    a) Systematic errors
    b) Random errors
    Systematic errors have 4 types:
    a) Instrumental errors
    b) Environmental errors
    c) Observational errors
    d) Theoretical errors

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Infographic

Accuracy vs Precision

 

Learn More With the Help of Video


 

Conclusion

Accuracy and Precision are essential in measurements because they ultimately affect the quality of the subject under consideration.

Both are crucial when anything is assessed in terms of Accuracy and Precision as the outcome will be error-free.

Precision itself is an important concept even if it not clubbed with Accuracy. It may be possible that Accurate measurement can be precise or not and the same is applicable with Precision too, as precise measurements may be accurate or may not be accurate.

But if the outcome is accurate but not precise then you can expect many unacceptable variations.

For whatever reasons or measurements you consider the Accuracy and Precision as evaluation parameters, you must clearly define the absolute values but before that, you need to ensure that you understand both well. So that you achieve what you desire for.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Accuracy and Precision

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on the Accuracy and Precision. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Word Cloud for Accuracy and Precision

 

References

  1. https://www.chemicool.com/definition/accuracy.html
  2. https://www.quora.com/What-is-accuracy
  3. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/accuracy
  4. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/precision
  5. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/precision
  6. https://www.definitions.net/definition/precision

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