DEFINITION of 'Representative Sample'
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.
INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS '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.
RELATED TERMS

Simple Random Sample
A subset of a statistical population in which each member of ... 
Statistical Significance
A result that is not likely to occur randomly, but rather is ... 
Sampling Distribution
A probability distribution of a statistic obtained through a ... 
Sampling Error
A statistical error to which an analyst exposes a model simply ... 
Probability Distribution
A statistical function that describes all the possible values ... 
NonSampling Error
A statistical error caused by human error to which a specific ...
Related Articles

Fundamental Analysis
Find The Right Fit With Probability Distributions
Discover a few of the most popular probability distributions and how to calculate them. 
Active Trading Fundamentals
Bet Smarter With The Monte Carlo Simulation
This technique can reduce uncertainty in estimating future outcomes. 
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 subgroup’s ... 
Fundamental Analysis
Lognormal and Normal Distribution
When and why do you use lognormal distribution or normal distribution for analyzing securities? Lognormal for stocks, normal for portfolio returns. 
Investing Basics
Using Normal Distribution Formula To Optimize Your Portfolio
Normal or bell curve distribution can be used in portfolio theory to help portfolio managers maximize return and minimize risk. 
Technical Indicators
The Normal Distribution Table, Explained
The normal distribution formula is based on two simple parameters  mean and standard deviation 
Economics
Can Investors Trust Official Statistics?
The official statistics in some countries need to be taken with a grain of salt. Find out why you should be skeptical. 
Investing Basics
RSquared
Learn more about this statistical measurement used to represent movement between a security and its benchmark. 
Active Trading Fundamentals
Hypothesis Testing in Finance: Concept & Examples
When you're indecisive about an investment, the best way to keep a cool head might be test various hypotheses using the most relevant statistics. 
Investing Basics
Industry Handbook
In this feature, we take an indepth look at the various techniques that determine the value and investment quality of companies from an industry perspective.