Representative Sample

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What is a 'Representative Sample'

A representative sample is a subset of a statistical population that accurately reflects the members of the entire population. A representative sample should be an unbiased indication of what the population is like. In a classroom of 30 students in which half the students are male and half are female, a representative sample might include six students: three males and three females.

BREAKING DOWN 'Representative Sample'

When a sample is not representative, the result is known as a sampling error. Using the classroom example again, a sample that included six students, all of whom were male, would not be a representative sample. Whatever conclusions were drawn from studying the six male students would not be likely to translate to the entire group since no female students were studied.

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RELATED FAQS
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    Learn about representative samples and how they are used in conjunction with other strategies to create useful data with ... Read Answer >>
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  3. How can a representative sample lead to sampling bias?

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  4. What's the difference between a representative sample and an unbiased sample?

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