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Sampling is a method of systematically selecting a subgroup, or sample, from a larger population in order to estimate features of the population. Probability sampling is a sampling method in which each unit in the population has a known probability of being included in the sample. After further defining probability sampling, this entry reviews four of the most common types of probability samples and then discusses the advantages of this sampling method, especially as compared to nonprobability sampling.

Samples are often used to estimate proportions and means in the population. For example, consider attempting to find the percentage of U.S. teenagers who are text message users. Surveying the population of all U.S. teens is not feasible. Probability samples have been used to estimate the percentage of ...

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