Descriptive Interpretations of Confidence Intervals

Produces descriptive interpretations of confidence intervals. Includes (extensible) support for various test types, specified as sets of interpretations dependent on where the lower and upper confidence limits sit. Provides plotting functions for graphical display of interpretations.

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An R package for interpreting confidence intervals.

The goal of confinterpret is to allow users to produce standardised descriptive interpretations from confidence intervals in R. The package supports researchers to focus more on generating estimates with associated ranges of uncertainty, rather than on single point-estimates, such as are common when conclusions are drawn from p-values.

The package includes (extensible) support for various test types, which are specified as sets of interpretations dependent on where the lower and upper confidence limits sit.

A collection of interpretation_set objects are provided in the package, to cover certain common situations where the confidence interval is of an effect size comparing two groups. Convenience / wrapper functions are provided for using each of these:

  • Superiority tests: interpret_superiority()
  • Non-inferiority tests: interpret_noninferiority()
  • Equivalence tests: interpret_equivalence()


confinterpret is on CRAN, so you can install it in the normal way:


You can also install the development version of confinterpret from github with:

# install.packages("devtools")


This is a basic example which shows you how to solve a common problem:

# Set up a dummy confidence interval
ci_above <- matrix(c(0.15, 0.25), nrow = 1,
                   dimnames = list("estimate", c("2.5 %","97.5 %")))
ci_above_sup <- interpret_superiority(ci_above)
# Access the short-form interpretation:
# Access the full interpretation:
# Access the full interpretation, marked up with markdown:
# Plot a chart of the interpretation (specify a nice colour-scheme first):
grDevices::palette(c("#FF671F99", "#F2A90099", "#0085CA99"))


confinterpret 1.0.0

S3 class for interpretation_result

  • The output of confinterpret() now returns an object of class `interpretation_result.
  • These results now include the interpretation_set object that were used to generate them (previous versions just included the name of the interpretation_set).


  • Added plot method for interpretation_result objects. Plots the result on a chart, using the interpretation_set and associated parameters to draw a relevant canvas that shows the boundaries etc.
  • Added a plotting function that works for a collection of interpretation_result objects. See ?plot_interpretation_result_list.
  • All plotting functions support (and default to) drawing the intervals as curves rather than simple boxes. (Boxes can still be produced by specifying interval_type = "unif".)


  • Print method provided for interpretation_set objects.
  • Print method provided for interpretation_result objects.

confinterpret 0.2.0


  • Improved plot.interpretation_set() function - now takes account of length of extra_boundaries names when setting the bottom margin.


  • Corrections to help files (including errors in which interpretation_set some of the functions use).
  • Added examples to help files for interpret_superiority(), interpret_noninferiority(), and interpret_equivalence().
  • Added documentation on placeholders in supplied interpretation_set objects.
  • Added Value section to help files for interpret_superiority(), interpret_noninferiority(), and interpret_equivalence().

confinterpret 0.1.0

NB: v0.1.0 was accepted on CRAN (2017-03-15):

  • Initial version.
  • Added a file to track changes to the package.

Reference manual

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1.0.0 by Jim Vine, a year ago

Report a bug at

Browse source code at

Authors: Jim Vine [aut, cre]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

AGPL-3 license

Suggests graphics, grDevices, testthat

See at CRAN