Math 225 Course Notes
Distribution of the Difference Between Two Sample Means
This sampling distribution should be used whenever the situation
involves two independent samples from different populations
and the sample means are compared.
As in all examples presented in this chapter,
central limit theorem
allows the use of the
to find probabilities.
In this situation,
there are different formula
for the mean and standard error,
but the same logic and procedure for solving problems
remains the same.
The sampling distribution of
is summarized by:
The shape will be approximately normal for sufficiently large samples.
For most practical applications, this will hold if each sample
has at least 25 or 30 observations.
A method to assess the effectiveness of a drug is to measure its
concentration in the urine after a period of time.
Suppose that for two brands of aspirin,
the mean concentrations are 19.2 and 15.6 (mg%)
with standard deviations of 8.6 and 7.8 (mg%) respectively,
one hour after ingestion.
Twenty people are given the first brand and twenty five are given the second
What is the probability that the mean difference in their concentrations
is more than 4.0 (mg%)?
The sampling distribution
for the difference in sample means
will be approximately normal with
a mean of 19.2 - 15.5 = 3.7
and a standard deviation of
The z-score is
z = (4.0 - 3.7) / 2.48 = 0.12
Since the area to the right of 0.12 under the standard normal curve
the probability is about 45% that the mean difference is 4 mg% or higher.
Last modified: Feb 19, 1996