These confidence intervals (CI) are ranges of values that are likely to contain the true values of the odds ratios. The calculation of the confidence intervals uses the normal distribution. The confidence interval is accurate if the sample size is large enough that the distribution of the sample odds ratios follow a normal distribution.
Because samples are random, two samples from a population are unlikely to yield identical confidence intervals. However, if you take many random samples, a certain percentage of the resulting confidence intervals contain the unknown population parameter. The percentage of these confidence intervals that contain the parameter is the confidence level of the interval.
The confidence interval is composed of the following two parts:
- Point estimate
- This single value estimates a population parameter by using your sample data. The confidence interval is centered around the point estimate.
- Margin of error
- The margin of error defines the width of the confidence interval and is determined by the observed variability in the sample, the sample size, and the confidence level. To calculate the upper limit of the confidence interval, the margin of error is added to the point estimate. To calculate the lower limit of the confidence interval, the margin of error is subtracted from the point estimate.
Use the confidence interval to assess the estimate of the odds ratio.
For example, with a 95% confidence level, you can be 95% confident that the confidence interval contains the value of the odds ratio for the population. The confidence interval helps you assess the practical significance of your results. Use your specialized knowledge to determine whether the confidence interval includes values that have practical significance for your situation. If the interval is too wide to be useful, consider increasing your sample size.