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Is it ok or mistake to use this words as synonyms? (E.g. to write "we evaluate variance of the estimator by theorem 1" when I mean that we estimate this variance)?

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    $\begingroup$ why would you use one term when you actually mean another? $\endgroup$
    – Aksakal
    Jul 24, 2018 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Because my supervisor claims that "evaluate" sounds more clearly and understandable and is stylistically better. The supervisor is a brilliant geographer but knows nothing on statistics and I am publishing a paper on statistical methods that should be exact and understandable by both statisticians and geographers:-( $\endgroup$
    – Galtulling
    Jul 24, 2018 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ "Evaluate the formula for variance" is fine, "evaluate variance" doesn't sound right $\endgroup$
    – Aksakal
    Jul 24, 2018 at 20:51

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I always thought "evaluate" was used to describe analytical formula results, and "estimate" was used to describe simulation or approximation results.

If you mistakenly use one over the other, people will generally understand what you mean if you are commenting on an online forum or discussing in person. If you are publishing a paper, the distinction will be more important, as papers are often peer-reviewed and academics can be picky. In your case, where you are determining the variance from a sample (not an analytical probability distribution), you would likely use "estimate" since you are not 100% sure of the distribution of the underlying variable, and you are therefore providing an estimate of the true variance based on the sample data you collected.

In conversation, the two are generally interchangeable, in my experience.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much! So I will use "estimate" in the paper! $\endgroup$
    – Galtulling
    Jul 24, 2018 at 20:15

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