Sampling is a technique used to arrive at a conclusion about a population by selecting and examining a small proportion of that population. Sampling is used in many ways, including the following:
Marketing. Sampling of a targeted customer group can be used to learn more about the needs and preferences of prospective buyers.
Polling. Sampling is used by pollsters to extrapolate the opinions of a small group to an entire population.
Quality assurance. Sampling is used within the quality assurance function to determine whether a product batch is within its design parameters.
The number of items to sample is determined via a statistical analysis, with samples being selected on either a random or systematic basis. The intent is to arrive at a representative sample that reflects the characteristics of the population from which the sample is drawn.