# Estimator

## Rule for calculating an estimate of a given quantity based on observed data / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In statistics, an **estimator** is a rule for calculating an estimate of a given quantity based on observed data: thus the rule (the estimator), the quantity of interest (the estimand) and its result (the estimate) are distinguished.^{[1]} For example, the sample mean is a commonly used estimator of the population mean.

There are point and interval estimators. The point estimators yield single-valued results. This is in contrast to an interval estimator, where the result would be a range of plausible values. "Single value" does not necessarily mean "single number", but includes vector valued or function valued estimators.

*Estimation theory* is concerned with the properties of estimators; that is, with defining properties that can be used to compare different estimators (different rules for creating estimates) for the same quantity, based on the same data. Such properties can be used to determine the best rules to use under given circumstances. However, in robust statistics, statistical theory goes on to consider the balance between having good properties, if tightly defined assumptions hold, and having worse properties that hold under wider conditions.