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Samples And Populations, Random Samples, Sample Size And Accuracy

A sample is a subset of actual observations taken from any larger set of possible observations. The larger set of observations is known as a population. For example, suppose that a researcher would like to know how many hours the average 11th grade student in the United States spends studying English literature every night. One way to answer that question would be to interview a select number (say 50, 500, or 5,000) of 11th grade students and ask them how many hours they spend on English literature each evening. The researcher could then draw some conclusions about the time spent studying English literature by all 11th grade students based on what he or she learned from the sample that was studied.

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