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sequential estimation

in statistics, a method of estimating a parameter by analyzing a sample just large enough to ensure a previously chosen degree of precision. The fundamental technique is to take a sequence of samples, the outcome of each sampling determining the need for another sampling. The procedure is terminated when the desired degree of precision is achieved. On average, fewer total observations will be needed using this procedure than with any procedure using a fixed number of observations.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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