Statistical sampling is a powerful—and often misunderstood—tool that has a wide range of applications, from audit to testing product preferences to predicting the outcome of political elections.
My first exposure to the power of statistical sampling was when I was quite young and learned about the Nielsen television ratings. I wondered how accurate such ratings could be when our family didn't even have a Nielsen box in our home, so our viewing habits were completely ignored by the ratings.
Even after taking graduate courses on statistical methods and learning their mathematical foundations, I still marvel at how it is possible to examine a seemingly small sample and arrive at conclusions about the views or actions of a much larger population. The ubiquitous use of political polling is another example of the influence of sampling techniques. Just... To get the full story, subscribe now.
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