What is 'Sampling'
Sampling is a process used in statistical analysis in which a predetermined number of observations are taken from a larger population. The methodology used to sample from a larger population depends on the type of analysis being performed but may include simple random sampling or systematic sampling.
In business, a CPA performing an audit uses sampling to determine the accuracy of account balances in the financial statements, and managers use sampling to assess the success of the firm’s marketing efforts.
BREAKING DOWN 'Sampling'
The sample should be a representation of the entire population. When taking a sample from a larger population, it is important to consider how the sample is chosen. To get a representative sample, the sample must be drawn randomly and encompass the whole 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.
Factoring in Systematic Sampling
Systematic sampling uses a random starting point and a periodic interval to select items for a sample. The sampling interval is calculated as the population size divided by the sample size. Assume, that a CPA is auditing the internal controls related to the cash account and wants to test the company policy that stipulates that checks exceeding $10,000 must be signed by two people.
The accountant's population consists of every company check exceeding $10,000 during the fiscal year, which, in this example, was 300. The CPA firm uses probability statistics and determines that the sample size should be 20% of the population or 60 checks. The sampling interval is 5 (300 checks/60 sample checks); therefore, the CPA selects every fifth check for testing. Assuming no errors are found in the sampling test work, the statistical analysis gives the CPA a 95% confidence rate that the check procedure was performed correctly. The CPA tests the sample of 60 checks and finds no errors; the accountant concludes that the internal control over cash is working properly.
Examples of Sample Tests for Marketing
Businesses aim to sell their products and/or services to target markets. Before presenting products to the market, companies generally identify the needs and wants of their target audience. To do so, they may employ using a sample of the population to gain a better understanding of those needs to later create a product and/or service that meets those needs. Gathering the opinions of the sample help to identify the needs of the whole.

Sampling Distribution
A sampling distribution is a probability distribution of a statistic ... 
Simple Random Sample
A subset of a statistical population in which each member of ... 
Central Limit Theorem  CLT
A statistical theory that states that given a sufficiently large ... 
Sample Size Neglect
Sample size neglect occurs when an individual infers too much ... 
Sampling Error
A statistical error to which an analyst exposes a model simply ... 
Acceptance Sampling
Acceptance sampling is a statistical measure used in quality ...

Personal Finance
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. 
Investing
Using Historical Volatility To Gauge Future Risk
Use these calculations to uncover the risk involved in your investments. 
Financial Advisor
5 Powerful Website Tools Every Advisor Needs
Topperforming financial advisor websites have these five features in common. 
Personal Finance
Common Interview Questions for Accountants
Learn which job interview questions to prepare for to help advance your accounting career. Discover that what you do not say is as important as what you do say. 
Investing
The Economics of Birchbox
Find out how subscriptionbased Birchbox makes money from its monthly sample box model. Read more on the next steps in Birchbox's expansion. 
Financial Advisor
How To Become A CPA
If you've ever wondered what it takes to earn the CPA designation, here's your answer. Be prepared for lots of studying and lots of testing. 
Personal Finance
How Much Do CPAs Make?
If you're considering becoming a CPA, here's what you might expect to earn. 
Insights
These Companies Are Poised for Growth as Global Population Growth Comes Online
While there are many concerns about population growth putting pressure on natural resources such as water and energy, these increased demands can spell profits for certain companies that can ...

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 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 are the advantages and disadvantages of using systematic sampling?
Learn about the primary advantages and disadvantages of using a systematic sampling method when conducting research of a ... Read Answer >> 
What are the disadvantages of using a simple random sample to approximate a larger ...
Learn what a simple random sample is, how researchers use it as a statistical tool and the disadvantages it carries when ... Read Answer >> 
How do I calculate the standard error using Matlab?
Learn how to calculate the standard error for a sample statistical measure, such as the sample mean, using standard Matlab ... Read Answer >> 
What are the pros and cons of stratified random sampling?
Stratified random sampling provides a more accurate sampling of a population, but can be disadvantageous when researchers ... Read Answer >>