A point estimate is the parameter of interest. For example, if you are constructing a confidence interval for ratio or interval variables, your point estimate could be the mean. Your mean is calculated from the sample data. if your variable is categorical, then a particular frequency could represent the point estimate. I compare the point estimate to movie critics (I know it sounds strange bare with me). If I wanted to critique a movie on a scale of 1 to 10, I have to tell you which movie I am talking about so you have a point of reference. If I just say, man that was a good movie…you got to go see it. Wouldn’t you want to know which movie I am talking about? Of course! Who has time to guess? It’s called effective communication. In statistics, you need to identify your focus when hammering away at the calculator. For confidence intervals, the point estimate tells the reader (okay) the mean is my point of interest.
-Moore to follow- Amy