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But what do we do in situations where it is not possible to write out the sample space and assign probabilities to simple events? What if we were interested in calculating the probability of selecting a person at random that has a specific weight from a large population3? Or what if we were interested in picking a single, specific grain of sand from a beach? In these situations it is impossible to write out a sample space. Statistical random variables, defined below, are used to solve such problems as those listed above.

Thus, we win if we roll a 2, 4, or 6. Written in notation A :{2,4,6}. 17 = 50%. com 34 A Handbook of Statistics Probability Probability related experiments exist outside of tossing die and flipping coins. com 35 Click on the ad to read more A Handbook of Statistics Probability What if we were interested in calculating the probability of an incident being a management related failure? The simple events are each type of incident that could occur and the sample space is the collection of these four simple events (engineering and design, procedures and practices, management and oversight, and training and communication.

Since you can only either hit the bulls eye (a success) or miss it (a failure) condition two is satisfied. The probability of a success theoretically should remain the same from one trail to the next. That is, over the course of 10 trails, your success rate should not change dramatically, thus condition three is met. The trails are independent, meeting condition four. Finally, the random variable in question is the number of times you hit a bulls eye in 10 trails. In this case, you are interested in the probability of hitting the bulls-eye six times.

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