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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 ?
DISCUSSION: Chorionic villus sampling has emerged as the only safe invasive prenatal diagnostic procedure in the first trimester.
Guidelines for Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS).
However, Dr Al Hejari revealed many still chose to undergo a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) test at around 11 weeks and then get an abortion if a hereditary disease was detected, often travelling abroad for the procedure - including to Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt.
To contain the spread of this fatal disease, his foundation also creating awareness amongst people and advised those families where already a thalassemia patients exist to do Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test after three months of pregnancy and if the test was positive the doctors advised for abortion.
But it identifies fewer chromosomal abnormalities than combination screening or the more invasive chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis.
The only definitive test involves chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis but that carries a risk of miscarriage.
Existing invasive diagnostic tests -- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis, which use samples from the developing placenta, are still only 75-90 per cent accurate with a risk of miscarriage," he said.
It is often stated that more fetuses are lost due to such invasive procedures (amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling) than are identified as carrying a chromosomal abnormality.