The first step that we are going to take before entering into the meaning of the term extrapolate is to know its etymological origin. In this case, we can state that it derives from Latin, it is exactly the result of the sum of two clearly delimited components:
-The prefix “extra-”, which means “outside of”.
-The verb “polish”, which is synonymous with “polish”.
Extrapolate is a verb that arises from interpolate (to place something in the middle of other things), replacing the prefix inter- by prefix extra-. The term is used in reference to the application in a certain scope of something that was obtained or executed in another.
For instance: “We propose to extrapolate the municipal experience to the entire province”, “I believe that the moral of this ancient story can be extrapolated to the present as it contains valuable lessons”, “You cannot extrapolate the formula to another context and achieve the same result”.
Inferring or decontextualizing are other words that share meaning with extrapolate.
Suppose a NGO, in a certain country, develops a program to combat malnutrition that is very successful. Faced with this situation, it is decided extrapolate the plan to other nations, hoping to achieve the same achievements. Because the realities are not the same in all countries, the idea may or may not work. But, when extrapolating the program, it is intended to repeat or imitate those actions that demonstrated its effectiveness.
The act of extrapolating is often done when doing polls. The results of a survey carried out with 1,000 participants from different regions of a country and from different social classes can be extrapolated to the national level and thus reach a general conclusion. If 400 of those 1,000 people affirm that, in an electoral process, they will vote for the Liberal Party, it can be indicated that the intention to vote that party has is 40% in the entire country. The percentage of the survey, in short, is extrapolated to reach a conclusion.
In the field of mathematics the term at hand is also used. Specifically, we speak of extrapolating variables, which consists of making estimates beyond what is the interval used in the initial observation.
Exactly, we can establish that there are different methods to extrapolate such as conic, linear, French curve and polynomial.
In the same way, there is talk of extrapolating data, which is a process by which a prediction is made from the data that has been presented in a graph or similar. Of course, that prediction can be somewhat risky if we take into account that it will be speculative and conjecture.
However, it is interesting to undertake this extrapolation not only because it can suggest a “result” or a situation but also because it can give rise to interesting approaches that favor the launch of new research on them and that had not been carried out until that moment.