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How to present fractions of a percent to a layman

  1. Jun 8, 2015 #1
    I have been presenting some data and I was asked to present it "better". The figures have been fractions of a percent (e.g. 0.05%) and I would like to convey how small that is to a layman. I don't want to go to Parts Per Million and my first thought is to say 1/20th of 1% represents 0.05%.

    Any ideas out there?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2015 #2

    wabbit

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    Gold Member

    I dunno.. 5 cents per hundred ?
     
  4. Jun 8, 2015 #3

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Is that what you meant? :smile:
     
  5. Jun 8, 2015 #4

    wabbit

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    Dollars are always implied. We're talking business, son : )
     
  6. Jun 8, 2015 #5

    Mark44

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    By "layman" I guess you mean someone who doesn't understand 6th grade arithmetic. "percent" means literally, "per 100" so .05% means (5/100) x (1/100) or (1/20) x (1/100) = 1/2000.

    Other ways to say this are 1/2 part in 1,000 or 5 parts in 10,000.
     
  7. Jun 8, 2015 #6

    Mentallic

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    Are you sure the problem was that your audience didn't understand percentages and that it wasn't because you were simply presenting poorly? e.g. jumping all over the place, having trailing thoughts, being too succinct in some parts and delving too deeply in others, etc.
     
  8. Jun 8, 2015 #7

    NascentOxygen

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    To the layman, you say? All men understand food, so choose that food analogy: the pie chart and you can't go wrong. :oldtongue:

    .... "If you take this tiny (1° slice) and share it among 6 people, then each will get about 0.05% of the pie."
     
  9. Jun 13, 2015 #8
    I was presenting data in a table via an email and that was all, no interpretation. My boss made a mistake by trying to understand how small 0.05% is. When he was working "backwards" from 40 minutes out of ~80,000 minutes, he would up with 0.005% or 4 minutes. That is when he asked me if there was another way to present a small fraction of a percent.
     
  10. Jun 13, 2015 #9
    How about three quarters of a minute, over a whole day? (actually it's 43.2 s, not 45 s; but maybe that's close enough?)
     
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