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In the widest sense, a sample which is representative of a population. Some confusion arises according to whether “representative” is regarded as meaning “selected by some process which gives all samples an equal chance of appearing to represent the population”; or, alternatively, whether it means “typical in respect of certain characteristics, however chosen.

On the whole, it seems best to confine the word “representative” to samples which turn out to be so, however chosen, rather than apply it to those chosen with the object of being representative.

Source Publication:
A Dictionary of Statistical Terms, 5th edition, prepared for the International Statistical Institute by F.H.C. Marriott. Published for the International Statistical Institute by Longman Scientific and Technical.

Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Created on Sunday, May 26, 2002