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American Association for Public Opinion Research

What is a Random Sample?

Sampling is based on probability theory --in its broadest sense, if we can choose respondents randomly and appropriately from the larger population, the results from that random sample will be very close to what we would get by interviewing every member of the the population.

(NOTE: The following information on sampling was developed by AAPOR as part of a comprehensive online journalism polling course created in partnership with NewsU, a project of the Poynter Institute and funded by the Knight Foundation. The course launched  September 2007.)

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