What is a 'Sampling Distribution'
A sampling distribution is a probability distribution of a statistic obtained through a large number of samples drawn from a specific population. The sampling distribution of a given population is the distribution of frequencies of a range of different outcomes that could possibly occur for a statistic of a population.
Next Up
BREAKING DOWN 'Sampling Distribution'
For example, suppose you wanted to find out the sampling distribution of SAT scores for all U.S. high school students in a given year. To do so, you would take repeated random samples of high school students from the general population and then compute the average test score for each sample. The distribution of those sample means would provide you with the sampling distribution for the average SAT test score.
RELATED TERMS

Sampling
A process used in statistical analysis in which a predetermined ... 
Sampling Error
A statistical error to which an analyst exposes a model simply ... 
Sample
A subset containing the characteristics of a larger population. ... 
Representative Sample
A subset of a statistical population that accurately reflects ... 
Systematic Sampling
A type of probability sampling method in which sample members ... 
Central Limit Theorem  CLT
A statistical theory that states that given a sufficiently large ...
Related Articles

Markets
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. 
Markets
What is Systematic Sampling?
Systematic sampling is similar to random sampling, but it uses a pattern for the selection of the sample. 
Investing
Explaining Standard Error
Standard error is a statistical term that measures the accuracy with which a sample represents a population. 
Markets
What is a Representative Sample?
In statistics, a representative sample accurately represents the makeup of various subgroups in an entire data pool. 
Markets
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. 
Markets
Explaining the Central Limit Theorem
Central limit theorem is a fundamental concept in probability theory. 
Markets
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 ... 
Investing
What a Normal Distribution Means
Normal distribution describes a symmetrical data distribution, where most of the results lie near the mean. 
Trading
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. 
Retirement
Birch Box Review: Is It Worth It?
Learn more about the convenience of the subscription beauty box industry, and discover why the Birchbox company in particular has become so popular.
RELATED FAQS

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 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 >> 
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 >> 
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 random sample?
Explore the differences between representative samples and random samples, and discover how they are often used in tandem ... Read Answer >> 
How do researchers ensure that a simple random sample is an accurate representation ...
Learn which methods researchers employ to ensure that a simple random sample best approximates the larger population being ... Read Answer >>