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Students often ask if it is "good enough" to take a sample, instead of surveying the entire population. If the survey is done well, the answer is yes.

Try it

A local radio station has a fan base of 20,000 listeners. The station wants to know if its audience would prefer more music or more talk shows. Asking all 20,000 listeners is an almost impossible task.

The station uses convenience sampling and surveys the first 200 people they meet at one of the station’s music concert events. 24 people said they’d prefer more talk shows, and 176 people said they’d prefer more music.

Do you think that this sample is representative of (or is characteristic of) the entire 20,000 listener population?

Try it solutions

The sample probably consists more of people who prefer music because it is a concert event. Also, the sample represents only those who showed up to the event earlier than the majority. Thesample probably doesn’t represent the entire fan base and is probably biased towards people who would prefer music.

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Collaborative exercise

As a class, determine whether or not the following samples are representative. If they are not, discuss the reasons.

  1. To find the average GPA of all students in a university, use all honor students at the university as the sample.
  2. To find out the most popular cereal among young people under the age of ten, stand outside a large supermarket for three hours and speak to every twentieth child under age ten who enters the supermarket.
  3. To find the average annual income of all adults in the United States, sample U.S. congressmen. Create a cluster sample by considering each state as a stratum (group). By using simple random sampling, select states to be part of the cluster. Then survey every U.S. congressman in the cluster.
  4. To determine the proportion of people taking public transportation to work, survey 20 people in New York City. Conduct the survey by sitting in Central Park on a bench and interviewing every person who sits next to you.
  5. To determine the average cost of a two-day stay in a hospital in Massachusetts, survey 100 hospitals across the state using simple random sampling.

Variation in data

Variation is present in any set of data. For example, 16-ounce cans of beverage may contain more or less than 16 ounces of liquid. In one study, eight 16 ounce cans were measured and produced the following amount (in ounces) of beverage:

  • 15.8
  • 16.1
  • 15.2
  • 14.8
  • 15.8
  • 15.9
  • 16.0
  • 15.5

Measurements of the amount of beverage in a 16-ounce can may vary because different people make the measurements or because the exact amount, 16 ounces of liquid, was not put into the cans. Manufacturers regularly run tests to determine if the amount of beverage in a 16-ounce can falls within the desired range.

Be aware that as you take data, your data may vary somewhat from the data someone else is taking for the same purpose. This is completely natural. However, if two or more of you are taking the same data and get very different results, it is time for you and the others to reevaluate your data-taking methods and your accuracy.

Questions & Answers

What Is The Confidence Interval
ala Reply
sample mean 25, sample standard deviation 20, sample size 200, calculate the confidence interval using the given values and the original confidence level of 90%.
Cady Reply
Can you help me in mathematical statistics problems?
bint-e-taj Reply
yes
Kc
Pls who can help me to teach me statistics
nasir
i need tutor for statistics plz
Rana
ok
Ekene
the power of the test is
Ejaz Reply
please can anyone help me solve these questions below? I need help please.
MMSI
a)An investor wants to eliminate seven of the investments in her portfolio by selling 4 stocks and 3 bonds. In how many can these be sold if among 25 securities in the portfolio,13 are stocks and the rest bonds?
MMSI
a)If a random variable has the standard normal distribution,what are the probabilities that it will take on a value: i)Less than 1.64 ii)Greater than-0.47
MMSI
b)A random variable has a normal distribution with a mean of 60 and standard deviation 5.2.What are the probabilities that the random variable will take on a value: i)Less than 65.2 ii)Between 48 and 72?
MMSI
b)If the probability that an individual suffers a bad reaction from injection of a given serum is 0.001,use the Poisson law to calculate the probability that out of 2000 individuals i)Exactly 3 individuals will suffer a bad reaction. ii)More than 2 individuals will suffer a bad reaction.
MMSI
b)The breakfast menu serve data popular 5-star Hotel in Accra consists of the following items: Juice-Mango,Grape,Apple. Toast-Whitewheat,Whole wheat. Egg:Fried,Hard-boiled,Scrambled. Beverage:Coffee,Tea,Cocoa.
MMSI
Continuation of the last question.Assist the Hotel manager to determine the number of possible breakfast combinations that can be served, one from each category
MMSI
please I need help.
MMSI
3x2x3
Vince
Are you answering the last question?
MMSI
please you guys should help me I need it so badly
MMSI
bias came in sampling due to
Muzammil Reply
sampling error
Vikram
what is the difference between population and sample
Inam
Sample is the group of individual who participate in your study. Sample is a subset of population. Population is the broader group of people to whom you intend to generalize the results of your study.
Ekene
how do you find z if you only know the area of .0808
Cady Reply
construct a frequency distribution
Sana
How to take a random sample of 30 observations
Hamna Reply
you can use the random function to generate 30 numbers or observation
smita
How we can calculate chi-square if observed x٫y٫z/frequency 40,30,20 Total/90
Insha Reply
calculate chi-square if observed x,y,z frequency 40,30,20total 90
Insha
find t value,if boysN1, ،32,M1,87.43 S1square,39.40.GirlsN2,34,M2,82.58S2square,40.80 Determine whether the results are significant or insignificant
Insha
The heights of a random sample of 100 entering HRM Freshman of a certain college is 157 cm with a standard deviation of 8cm. test the data against the claim that the overall height of all entering HRM students is 160 cm. previous studies showed that
Crispen Reply
complete the question.. as data given N = 100,mean= 157 cm, std dev = 8 cm..
smita
Z=x-mu/ std dev
smita
the power of the test is
Ejaz
find the mean of 25,26,23,25,45,45,58,58,50,25
Asmat Reply
add all n divide by 10 i.e 38
smita
38
hhaa
amit
1 . The “average increase” for all NASDAQ stocks is the:
Jamshaid Reply
STATISTICS IN PRACTICE: This is a group assignment that seeks to reveal students understanding of statistics in general and it’s practical usefulness. The following are the guidelines; 1.      Each group has to identify a natural process or activity and gather data about/from the process. 2.     
Kofi Reply
The diameter of an electric cable,say, X is assumed to be continoues random variable with p.d.f f(x)=6x(1-x); ≤x≤1 a)check that f(X) is p.d.f b) determine a number b such that p(Xb)
Syed Reply
A manufacturer estimate 3% of his output is defective. Find the probability that in a sample of 10 items (a) less than two will be defective (b) more than two will be defective.
ISAIAH Reply
A manufacturer estimates that 3% of his output of a small item is defective. Find the probabilities that in a sample of 10 items (a) less than two and (b) more than two items will be defective.
ISAIAH
use binomial distribution with parameter n=10, p= 0.03, q=0.97
Shivprasad
the standard deviation of a symmetrical distribution is 7.8 . what must be the value of forth moment about the mean in order that distribution be a) leptokurtic b) mesokurtic c) platy kyrtic intrept the obtain value of a b and c
Tushar Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Introductory statistics. OpenStax CNX. May 06, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11562/1.18
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