Sample and Sampling The sample represents the population of those critical characteristics you plan to study. In other words, if the sample is representative of th'e population you can say that what you have found out about the sample is true of the population. The term representative means that sample subjects are not selected haphazardly, but deliberately so that every element in the population has an equal chance of being selected for the study. If you take all the rural mothers of village "A" as your population, you will perhaps study one whole population. Whereas if you define your population as all rural mothers of India-you cannot possibly study the whole group. Even if you can, it is a waste of money and time. The process of selecting a fraction ofthe sampling unit of your target population for inclusion in your study is called sampling.
The population "element" consists of the characteristics or attributes of the subjects that the researcher wants to study. A true representative sample consists of similar elements; these are called the sampling elements. Each sampling unit can be the sampling element itself or it may contain a number of sampling elements. For example, the researcher wants to study the health status of rural mothers and finds that there are Hindu, Muslim and Christian mothers from which helshe can select the sample; hence each group becomes a sampling unit. In each unit, a number of sampling elements, mothers in this case are present.
Sampling technique will then involve getting representatives from each unit. Sampling refers to the process of selecting portion of the population that represents the entire population. A sample then consists of the subsets of the population. A single member of a population is called elements.