The smaller the percent error, the more accurate the results are.
Maria determined that a cylinder of aluminum had a density of
Henry determined that the same cylinder of aluminum had a density of
As you can see, Henry had the more accurate result because his percent error was less than Maria's.
percent error and accuracy are inversely proportional to each other
The short answer is the "math" way of putting it. As percent error increases, accuracy decreases. Let's look at the equation. I will present it in two different formats. Just use the one your teacher prefers. The only difference between the two is whether or not your teacher prefers % error to be positive only.
The first variable is
The second variable is
% error =
% error =
Inaccuracy is due to random (indeterminate) or systematic (determinate) error.
Random (indeterminate) error results from uncontrollable variables when taking a measurement. This type of error is always present and (usually) never correctable. An example of this would be electric noises or environmental factors. Two ways to reduce random error is to take more measurements or do some statistical analysis. A larger sample can reduce the fluctuations
Systematic (determinate) error results from instruments and/or procedures. This error is reproducible and can be hard to detect. This is where you get "user error". Another example of this would be incorrectly taring a balance or not calibrating your equipment/instruments.