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Definition: Sample

In Statistics, sample refers to a set of data collected from a larger set called population. In other words, a sample is a subset of population. A sample can be collected either randomly or through systematic methods.


In data analysis, often the population consists of large data and evaluating them for a specific purpose is a complex & tedious process. Hence statisticians, collect a data sample which is representative of the population. The properties of the sample can then be attributed to that of the population.


The process of selecting this sample from a population is called as Sampling. There are various reasons why sampling is done:


  • Sampling saves time
  • In case of destructive testing methods, sampling is useful
  • In cases when the entire population data cannot be accessed, sampling is useful

There are basically two types of sample depending on how they are selected.

Random Sample – Here the probability of selecting an object from a population is same for all the objects

Non Random Sample – Here the sample is selected based on a certain criteria where all the objects from a population do not have the same probability of selection.

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