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.

Sampling
A process used in statistical analysis in which a predetermined ... 
Sampling Error
A statistical error to which an analyst exposes a model simply ... 
Sampling Distribution
A probability distribution of a statistic obtained through a ... 
Sample
A subset containing the characteristics of a larger population. ... 
Simple Random Sample
A subset of a statistical population in which each member of ... 
Systematic Sampling
A type of probability sampling method in which sample members ...

Professionals
Sampling and Estimation
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Fundamental Analysis
How Does Sampling Work?
Sampling is a term used in statistics that describes methods of selecting a predefined representative number of data from a larger data population. 
Fundamental Analysis
What is a Representative Sample?
In statistics, a representative sample accurately represents the makeup of various subgroups in an entire data pool. 
Fundamental Analysis
Explaining Standard Error
Standard error is a statistical term that measures the accuracy with which a sample represents a population. 
Fundamental Analysis
Understanding the Simple Random Sample
A simple random sample is a subset of a statistical population in which each member of the subset has an equal probability of being chosen. 
Economics
What is Systematic Sampling?
Systematic sampling is similar to random sampling, but it uses a pattern for the selection of the sample. 
Fundamental Analysis
Explaining the Central Limit Theorem
Central limit theorem is a fundamental concept in probability theory. 
Investing
How to Use Stratified Random Sampling
Stratified random sampling is a technique best used with a sample population easily broken into distinct subgroups. Samples are then taken from each subgroup based on the ratio of the subgroupâ€™s ... 
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Financial trends among college students are a cause for concern, prompting a renewed emphasis on financial literacy. 
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Sampling Considerations
CFA Level 1  Sampling Considerations

What percentage of the population do you need in a representative sample?
Learn about representative samples and how they are used in conjunction with other strategies to create useful data with ... Read Answer >> 
What's the difference between a representative sample and a convenience sample?
Learn the difference between convenience sampling and representative sampling and the advantages and disadvantages of each ... Read Answer >> 
How can a representative sample lead to sampling bias?
Learn how using representative samples alone is not enough to make sampling bias negligible and why elements such as randomization ... Read Answer >> 
What's the difference between a representative sample and an unbiased sample?
Discover how the different techniques used to select representative samples and unbiased samples are often exploited and ... Read Answer >> 
What are the advantages and disadvantages of stratified random sampling?
Understand the process for stratified random sampling and its advantages and disadvantages for selecting a sample to approximate ... Read Answer >> 
What is the difference between systematic sampling and cluster sampling?
Learn about the differences between systematic sampling and cluster sampling, including how the samples are created for each ... Read Answer >>