My team manages a survey that has been reporting for many years as "relative sample error" a range of figures which are in fact the Xs in "+/- X percent" of an estimate where X is chosen to make up a 95 percent confidence interval. So in fact they are about 1.96 times the relative standard error. The users - who are not statisticians - appreciate these numbers because they can easily turn them into a confidence interval (which would take them one more step than they wanted if we quoted actual standard errors).
My question is, what is the correct way to describe these figures?
- "Relative standard error" is certainly wrong;
- "1.96 * RSE" is clumsy and not quite correct (because they might be created with a bootstrap method which does not calculate the confidence interval that way)
- "Relative half confidence interval" is probably correct but not very plain English
- "95 percent confidence interval, expressed as plus or minus percentage of the estimate" is correct but verbose
Putting aside any questions about how these are calculated, any views on good terminology?