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 helps to identify the needs of the whole.

Representative Sample
A representative sample is a subset of a statistical population ... 
Sampling Distribution
A sampling distribution is a probability distribution of a statistic ... 
Central Limit Theorem  CLT
The central limit theorem states that when one aggregates samples ... 
Sample Size Neglect
Sample size neglect occurs when an individual infers too much ... 
T Distribution
A T distribution is a type of probability function that is appropriate ... 
Confidence Interval
A confidence interval measures the probability that a population ...

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. 
Investing
How Vanguard Index Funds Work
Learn how Vanguard index funds work. See how the index sampling technique allows Vanguard to charge low expense ratios that can save investors money. 
Tech
New Advances In AI From Google Acquisition DeepMind (GOOG, AAPL)
DeepMind's texttospeech system can reproduce human speech patterns and produce music. 
Insights
How The Unemployment Rate Affects Everybody
Depending on how it's measured, the unemployment rate is open to interpretation. Learn how to find the real rate and how it affects everyone. 
Personal Finance
How Much Do CPAs Make?
If you're considering becoming a CPA, here's what you might expect to earn. 
Retirement
Florida Retirement Hub The Villages is the Fastest Growing U.S. Metro
Fatstest growing metros have significant chunks of retirees in their population. 
Insights
4 Global Economic Issues of an Aging Population
Discover why dramatic increases in life expectancy is creating significant socioeconomic challenges for many advanced industrialized nations. 
Investing
The Top 5 Mid Cap Core ETFs for 2016 (VO, IJH)
Read about some of the top midcap ETFs, and learn how you can use these funds to get broad exposure to an important segment of the equities market.

When is it better to use systematic over simple random sampling?
Learn when systematic sampling is better than simple random sampling, such as in the absence of data patterns and when there ... Read Answer >> 
What's an example of stratified random sampling?
Stratified random sampling divides a population into subgroups or strata, whereby the members in each of the stratum formed ... 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 assumptions are made when conducting a ttest?
Learn what a ttest is and discover the five standard assumptions made regarding the validity of sampling and data used in ... Read Answer >>