I refer to this question about error propagation in calibration curves.

The reason for closure was not enough effort, but I disagree with this statement: the OP clearly explains his confusion and thought process, and I feel that this distinguishes it from the ubiquitous zero-effort questions that are normally closed for this reason.

In addition, I'd like to know whether this question is off-topic. While error propagation is certainly a statistical concern, we encounter it here in a chemical context, and this seems to be sufficient rationale for its belonging here. The Help Center states that questions pertaining to experimental techniques and technology are relevant, and serial dilution surely belongs in this category.

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    $\begingroup$ I definitely struggled with my vote (close) on this one. On the surface it looks like they've done a lot to illustrate the problem. But, how did they get those error bars? They never discuss that. They seem to recognize that the error bars seem too large, but there is no attempt to explain why that might be. There is no suggestions for other statistical methods like linear regression and how to calculate the error from that. Maybe that's expecting too much, but in the end it just didn't seem like they had shown enough effort toward solving the problem after doing a nice job of illustrating it. $\endgroup$
    – airhuff
    Aug 6, 2017 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ The close reason may not have been ideal, but I completely support its closure. $\endgroup$
    – NotEvans.
    Aug 6, 2017 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


This should not have been closed as homework, but rather as unclear because the key details are missing. I also do not think that this question is off-topic in any way. I can remember doing an experiment like this and I think this question if included those details would be helpful for generations to come.

I have left the following comment to address the shortcomings:

Please include the full description of how you did the experiment, i.e. determined mass of copper chloride to be xx +/- xx g, determined volume of solution to be xx +/- xx mL, diluted xx +/- xx mL of stock solution with xx +/- mL solevent, etc.. Then please include the full calculation for your error bars. While I do not agree with the community that you have not shown enough effort, and I also do think it is a conceptual question which is on topic here, I think it lacks those details to be clear enough for an answer. Please [edit] your question to address my comment and we can reopen it.

Let's hope the OP gets around to adding those details.

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    $\begingroup$ IIRC I VTC'd as unclear, and IIRC it was because of your comment. It made its unclearness clear. I encourage people to comment more on their close votes in edge cases. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Aug 7, 2017 at 14:06

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