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5.01 Sample and population

Methods for summarizing sample data are called descriptive statistics. However, in most studies we’re not interested in samples, but in underlying populations. If we employ data obtained from a sample to draw conclusions about a wider population, we are using methods of inferential statistics. It is therefore of essential importance that you know how you should draw samples. In this module we’ll pay attention to good sampling methods as well as some poor practices. To draw conclusions about the population a sample is from, researchers make use of a probability distribution that is very important in the world of statistics: the sampling distribution. We’ll discuss sampling distributions in great detail and compare them to data distributions and population distributions. We’ll look at the sampling distribution of the sample mean and the sampling distribution of the sample proportion.

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