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the selection of part of a total population of consumers or products whose behaviour or performance can be analysed, in order to make inferences about the behaviour or performance of the total population, without the difficulty and expense of undertaking a complete census of the whole population.

Samples may be chosen randomly, with every consumer or product in the population having an equal chance of being included. Random samples are most commonly used by firms in QUALITY CONTROL where they are used as a basis for selecting products, components or materials for quality testing.

Alternatively, samples may be chosen by dividing up the total population into a number of distinct sub-groups or strata, then selecting a proportionate number of consumers or products from each sub-group since this is quicker and cheaper than random sampling. In MARKETING RESEARCH and opinion polling, quota sampling is usually employed where interviewers select the particular consumers to be interviewed, choosing the numbers of these consumers in proportion to their occurrence in the total population.

Samples may be:

  1. cross-sectional, where sample observations are collected at a particular point in time, for example data on company sales and the incomes of consumers in the current year, embracing a wide range of different income groups, as a basis for investigating the relationship between sales and income;
  2. longitudinal, where sample observations are collected over a number of time periods, for example data on changes in company sales over a number of years and changes in consumer incomes over the same time periods, as a basis for investigating the relationship between sales and income. See STATISTICAL INFERENCES, QUESTIONNAIRE.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sheikh Abdullah affirmed the important role played by the FNC to strengthen the development of the country.
FNC noted that in Portland, December was the ninth consecutive month bringing double-digit year-over-year gains in home prices.
A lot of the candidates are not always very familiar with FNC and some don't have enough promotional campaigns, which is something that we are now focusing on," he said.
Television coverage of the FNC was scheduled to air on ESPN2 on February 16.
One of the main duties of the FNC is to discuss the annual UAE budget.
Among basic cable networks, FNC ranked third in Prime Time viewership, behind only USA Network and ESPN while eclipsing CNN and MSNBC which rank 29th and 19th, respectively.
Several Quebecor subsidiaries are also supporting the FNC, including MAtv, which is presenting the Prix Creativite in the Focus section (short films) and TVA Films, which is screening the film A Quiet Passion.
But Mustafa Al Zarouni, 32, a journalist, who is running in this year's FNC elections, which take place on Saturday, said:Ce"The FNC member should be devoted for the council's work, especially if he is a government employee.
This is not the first time to do so as I am always engaged in FNC elections to pick up the right person who can voice our concerns and speak for us in the council.
Gargash also commended the committees for their pivotal role in the electoral scene in the UAE, especially in the intensive preparations for the conduct of the FNC elections.
FNC also produces two narrower indexes, one for the 30 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and another for the top 10 MSAs.