Population vs. Sample

In this concept you will learn how to appropriately decide whether to gather a sample for study, or use the entire population in question.

Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to decide whether to conduct a particular study upon a sample group or on the entire population.  Suppose you were attempting to put together a menu for a camping trip with a large group of friends and wanted to make sure nobody was allergic to peanuts before planning peanut-butter sandwiches for lunch.  Would you need to question all 50+ friends individually?  Would it make sense to choose a representative sample to poll instead?  What if you wanted to pick a few popular types of soda to bring along, would that be a different situation?

At the end of the lesson, we’ll return to this question to apply what we have discussed.

Grades 6 through 7 Material from CK-12

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Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers. For example, How old am I? is not a statistical question, but How old are the students in my school? is a statistical question because one anticipates variability in students ages


Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by:



Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population. Understand that random sampling tends to produce representative samples and support valid inferences.