In survey research, a sample is a subset of elements drawn from a larger population. If all elements from the larger population are "sampled" for measurement, then a census is being conducted, not a sample survey.

In a broad context, survey researchers are interested in obtaining some type of information for some population, or universe, of interest. A sampling frame, that is, a frame that represents the population of interest, must be defined. The sampling frame may be identical to the population, or it may be only part of the population and is therefore subject to some under-coverage, or it may have an indirect relationship to the population (e. g. the population is males and the frame is telephone numbers). It is sometimes possible to obtain ...

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