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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 ?
Coverage Coverage issues, either CCHS uses this Target population due to over-or under- operational definition Sampling frame coverage, may result in for non-eligible estimates inferring to individuals: "Excluded a different population from these surveys' than the one targeted.
Generating the sampling frame using Google Earth and QGIS took about two weeks as the process and software were new to the investigators.
These 39 counties will now be labeled as the suburban fringe sampling frame (see Table 2).
In addition to the amount of coverage generated by a particular species in a sampling frame, the question of the total amount of plant coverage per sampling frame is equally important since it indicates how much soil substrate is exposed to the elements.
However, to facilitate future decision making about the use of these data, we estimated the upper limits of the potential contribution of VA-Medicare data to our sampling frame by imputing from the 2003 VA Information Resource Center (VIReC) VA-Medicare data merge report [14].
Revising the sampling frame for existing household surveys in Thailand on the basis of the new pilot Censuses.
Occasionally, a sampling frame must be constructed by the auditor because no convenient representation exists.
This approach thus has a clearly defined sampling frame.
However, we cannot attribute these differences to the sampling frame.
One important observation made by Heiden is that the "post 1996 sampling frame appears to be new and different from the old pre-1996 sample because its hospital members are on average much nearer to amusement parks than the old hospitals were, and serve potential patients who have different, higher propensity than potential ER patients in the pre-1997 NEISS sample, to use the parks that are the source of any potential injury reported to the agency.
The most straightforward way of accomplishing this is to construct a sampling frame consisting of a complete listing of all of the elements in the population, then to randomly select elements from that list with a known probability.
In the early 1990s, the Czech Republic was transforming itself into a capitalist country, and there was such a rapid change in the number and size of firms that it proved almost impossible to generate a meaningful sampling frame.