DEFINITION of 'Sampling'

A process used in statistical analysis in which a predetermined number of observations will be taken from a larger population. The methodology used to sample from a larger population will depend on the type of analysis being performed, but will include simple random sampling, systematic sampling and observational sampling.

The sample should be a representation of the general population.


Loading the player...


When taking a sample from a larger population, it is important to consider how the sample will be drawn. To get a representative sample, the sample must be drawn randomly and encompass the entire population. For example, a lottery system could be used to determine the average age of students in a University by sampling 10% of the student body, taking an equal number of students from each faculty.

  1. Control

    1. The use of power to influence an outcome. For example, working ...
  2. Normal Distribution

    A probability distribution that plots all of its values in a ...
  3. Sampling Error

    A statistical error to which an analyst exposes a model simply ...
  4. Central Limit Theorem - CLT

    A statistical theory that states that given a sufficiently large ...
  5. Sample

    A subset containing the characteristics of a larger population. ...
  6. Statistics

    A type of mathematical analysis involving the use of quantified ...
Related Articles
  1. Fundamental Analysis

    How Does Sampling Work?

    Sampling is a term used in statistics that describes methods of selecting a pre-defined representative number of data from a larger data population.
  2. Markets

    Using Historical Volatility To Gauge Future Risk

    Use these calculations to uncover the risk involved in your investments.
  3. Retirement

    Consumer Confidence: A Killer Statistic

    The consumer confidence is key to any market economy, so investors need to learn the measures and how to analyze them.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    5 Ways To Measure Mutual Fund Risk

    These statistical measurements highlight how to mitigate risk and increase rewards.
  5. Active Trading

    Random Reinforcement: Why Most Traders Fail

    This phenomenon can cause a trader to abandon a proven strategy or risk everything on chance. Find out how to avoid it.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 3 Muni California Mutual Funds

    Discover analyses of the top three California municipal bond mutual funds, and learn about their characteristics, historical performance and suitability.
  7. Investing

    What is Descriptive Statistics?

    Descriptive statistics is the term applied to meaningful data analysis.
  8. Fundamental Analysis

    Create a Monte Carlo Simulation Using Excel

    How to apply the Monte Carlo Simulation principles to a game of dice using Microsoft Excel.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 4 Inverse Equities ETFs

    Explore analysis of some of the most popular inverse and leveraged-inverse ETFs that track equity indexes, and learn about the suitability of these ETFs.
  10. Forex Fundamentals

    How Foreign Exchange Affects Mergers and Acquisitions Deals

    Learn how foreign exchange rates can impact the flows of international merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions, and understand how deals can impact exchange rates.
  1. What are some common financial sampling methods?

    There are two areas in finance where sampling is very important: hypothesis testing and auditing. The type of sampling methods ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the benefits of financial sampling?

    Financial sampling allows auditors to approximate the rate of error within financial statements. For accounting purposes, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the criteria for a simple random sample?

    Simple random sampling is the most basic form of sampling and can be a component of more precise, more complex sampling methods. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can a representative sample lead to sampling bias?

    A representative sample, like any other type of sample, by its very nature leads to a degree of sampling bias, or sampling ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the advantages of using a simple random sample to study a larger population?

    Simple random sampling is a method used to cull a smaller sample size from a larger population and use it to research and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the disadvantages of using a simple random sample to approximate a larger ...

    Simple random sampling statistically measures a subset of individuals selected from a larger group or population to approximate ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  2. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  3. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  4. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  5. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  6. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!