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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 ?
Rather than put a new, untested product on shelves nationwide, CVS can test the product more economically on its Web Site first, explains Pigott.
The earlier the CVS procedure, the greater the risk to the baby, the team discovered.
Moreover, babies whose mothers got the earlier CVS testing faced 11 times the risk of limb defects as babies whose mothers had amniocentesis or no testing.
We urge Caremark shareholders to support the strategic combination with CVS, which now offers even greater immediate value in addition to substantial long-term benefits.
A combined Caremark and CVS will lead the industry, creating significant value for our customers and shareholders.
CVS and Caremark have filed a preliminary joint proxy statement/prospectus with the SEC in connection with the proposed merger.
CVS is America's largest retail pharmacy, operating 6,163 retail and specialty pharmacy stores in 43 states and the District of Columbia as of August 26, 2006.
CVS is America's largest retail pharmacy, operating 6,171 retail and specialty pharmacy stores in 43 states and the District of Columbia as of July 29, 2006.
CVS/pharmacy, America's largest retail pharmacy, announced today that it has reached an agreement with Midwest Health Plan that will enable CVS to continue filling prescriptions for Midwest Health Plan members.
As of that date, CVS will stop filling prescriptions for members of Midwest Health Plan due to the Plan's inadequate pharmacy reimbursement rates.