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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 ?
If it is used in very cold weather, the sampling rate data at -5[degrees]C may be needed.
With 500Hz sampling rate, we've leveraged our vast experience with the RED platform to reach a new level and can now provide unmatched quality for scientific research in the fields of neurology and psychology, especially for integrated studies with EEG.
What the manufacturers want are dependable devices that inspect tires with better throughput, higher sampling rates and longer stand-off distances, without sacrificing accuracy.
It will be followed shortly by a DAC with the same sampling rate range.
NYSE: ADI), a global leader in high-performance semiconductors for signal-processing applications and leading provider of data conversion technology, today introduced the first dual 14-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to achieve sampling rates of 150 mega samples per second (MSPS).
On the other hand the AS1527, which requires an external reference, needs even less - 3mW (3V) at the 73ksps maximum sampling rate.
5-GS/s sampling rate, 50-MS/s single-shot sampling, 50-MHz analog bandwidth, a record length of 256k, and a 0 to 25-MHz spectrum range.
HRes SR is a time base capability that expands the setting resolution allowing ultrafine sampling rate settings and adjustments.
This, together with the DAQ device's high sampling rate of up to 3 MSa/s for a single channel, enables fast and easy instrument setup and quality data acquisition.
5-GS/s sampling rate (repetitive signals), 50-MS/s single-shot sampling, a 50-MHz analog bandwidth, and a record length of 256k.
The Model 8620A oscilloscope and SDA 6020 Serial Data Analyzer from LeCroy are based on the WaveMaster digital oscilloscope platform and feature a real-time sampling rate of 20 GS/s per channel.