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Difference between Populations & Samples in Statistics

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  • 0:06 Collecting Data
  • 0:25 Populations vs Samples
  • 2:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

Before you start collecting any information, it is important to understand the differences between population and samples. This lesson will show you how!

Collecting Data

Jasmine is collecting information for the student council at her school. The student council organization wants to know the student's preferences for cafeteria meals. When collecting data or doing an experiment like Jasmine, you will have to understand the difference between populations and samples.

In this lesson, we will discuss populations and samples and how they are used in data collection and statistics.

Populations Versus Samples

A population is all members of a specified group. For example, if Jasmine wants to collect information about the students in her school, then the population would be all of the students in the school. The school would be the group in this particular scenario, and the members would be the students. Therefore, the population would be all of the students in Jasmine's school. However, most of the time it isn't practical to get information from every member of a population. When this happens, we have to find a different way of getting information that represents the population without actually asking the entire population. Jasmine has the same issue, she won't be able to ask every student in the school what his or her preference is when it comes to cafeteria meals. Instead, Jasmine will need to get a sample.

A sample is a part of a population used to describe the whole group. Jasmine can get a select group of students from her school as a population for her sample. This way she can get an idea of the preferences of the students without asking every student in the school. In order to get a sample, Jasmine can only use students that are from the school. She can't ask students that are from another school or aren't students because they aren't part of the desired population. There are many different ways you can get a sample from your population.

These include random sampling, simple random sampling, cluster sampling, stratified sampling and systematic sampling. You'll learn more about each of these types of sampling in future lessons!

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