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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Statistics, 2nd Edition by Robert Donnelly

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Sampling Errors

Up to this point, we have stressed the benefits of drawing a sample from a population rather than measuring every member of the population. However, in statistics, as in life, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. By relying on a sample, we expose ourselves to errors that can lead to inaccurate conclusions about the population.
The type of error that a statistician is most concerned about is called sampling error, which occurs when the sample measurement is different from the population measurement. Because the population is rarely measured in its entirety, the sampling error cannot be directly calculated. However, with inferential statistics, we’ll be able to assign probabilities to certain amounts of sampling error later ...

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