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Significant Digits 

Study Design and Statistics

Margaret A. Winker

and Stephen J. Lurie

The use of a numeral in a numbers column (eg, the ones column) implies that the method of measurement is accurate to that level of precision. For example, when a reporter attempts to estimate the size of a crowd, the estimate might be to the nearest tens of number of people, but would not be expressed as an exact number, such as 86, unless each individual was counted. Similarly, when an author provides a number with numerals to the right of the decimal point, the numerals imply that the measurement used to obtain the number is accurate to the last

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