The researcher must identify the target population and select the sample if a census is not desired. The researcher then determines how many people to interview and who they will be; what and how many events to observe; how many records to inspect and which ones. Once the population of interest is determined, the researcher has to decide whether data will be collected from all study units or from some of the units in the population.

A sample is a part or a portion of the target population carefully selected to represent that population. When researchers undertake sampling studies, they are interested in estimating one or more population values and or testing one or more statistical hypothesis. The sampling process must give every person within a target population a known nonzero chance of selection if probability sampling is used. If there is no feasible alternative, a non-profitability approach may be used.

The basic idea of sampling is that by selecting some of the elements in a population, we may draw conclusions about the entire population. A population element is the subject on which the measurement is being taken. It is the unit of study. A population is the total collection of elements about which we wish to make some inferences. A census is a count of all the elements in a population

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