What is a sample

A sample is a limited number taken from a large group for testing and analysis, on the assumption that the sample can be taken as representative of the whole group. Most people are familiar with the concept of sampling and its application in many everyday areas of life. For example, we take a sip of a drink or a bite of food to determine whether or not we are going to enjoy it. We are also familiar with the idea that scientists wishing to check the quality of a production batch will take a small sample from a large batch of product, and subject the sample to analysis to determine the constituents and their proportions in the whole batch. It is exactly this procedure which the marketing researcher is seeking to apply when sampling is used in survey research. From the example given it is easy to see that the major constituents of the production batch will only be represented in the correct proportions if the sample selected by the scientist for test was from a well-mixed batch, i.e. is representative of the whole content of the batch. The techniques of sample selection seek to ensure that the members of a survey sample are truly representative of all the members of the population from which they are derived. This therefore underlines the importance of correct sampling procedures in research. Without them the sample selected will not be representative and the answers gathered from them will not be a good guide to what the population of interest would say if all of them were asked.

Online Survey Champion

Online Survey Champion

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