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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.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
References in periodicals archive ?
From simply installing public announcement systems and speakers in commercial areas and stores, WAV began innovating its services by using more sophisticated technology.
WAV then plans to foray into other global markets afterwards.
"Sometimes when I have to travel in the rear of a WAV for work, I can be travelling for hours and all I can see is the curb, and it's very boring.
"WAV's strengths in value-added distribution and wireless technical expertise will provide a key link between Azalea's innovative technology and the applications that can best benefit from it," reported John Elms, CEO of Azalea Networks.
The new model WAV 50-118 allows work to be accomplished at heights of up to 5 metres by raising the operator platform to approx.
The CD Recorder makes it easy to burn MP3, WAV, WMA, and OGG files to CDR and CDR/W.
The Hackney Association is also appealing for the council to restrict the issuing of new plates to wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) only, to help meet Government targets for 2010 when all hackney carriages must be WAV.
iVoice, Inc., a provider in speech recognition technology, has announced the release of its IVR Application Generator 2.0 for Tapi Wav, available for the Avaya IP Office, 3Com NBX and Shorelines IP Voice System.
Other multi-media options include built-in speakers and microphone, a headphone connection and the ability to play back MP3 and WAV audio files.
WAV, WMA, and MP3 audio files can be inserted into the video or extracted from the video; and BMP, GIF, JPG, PCX, PNG, RAS, PPM, TGA, and TIF are the supported image formats that can be inserted or extracted.
The 40GB version, the CNJBZ40F, has both USB and Firewire sockets and, thanks to that huge capacity, can store and play up to 8,000 MP3, WMA and WAV files.