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Sampling Theory and Some Important
Sampling Distributions
9.1 Introduction to Sampling Distributions
population – the set of all possible measurements (group of
interest)
sample – a subset of the population
parameter – a numerical characteristic of a population
statistic – a numerical characteristic of a sample
Since the population is often not available, we use statistics to
estimate parameters
In statistical application, we take a random sample from
the population. We compute a statistic, say x .
The value of the statistic x depends on which items are
selected for the sample. Different samples yield
different values of x .
Therefore,
x is a random variable.
x estimates the population mean 
The distance between a statistic and the parameter it is
estimating is called the sampling error.
In order to evaluate the reliability of
the probability distribution of x .
x , we need to know
The probability of a statistic over all possible samples is
known as its sampling distribution.
We want the sampling distribution to be centered at the
value of the parameter and to have little variation.
The statistic is an unbiased estimator if it is centered
about the parameter of interest. Otherwise, the
estimator has bias.
A statistic is a minimum variance unbiased estimator if
it is an unbiased estimator and has less variance than
all other unbiased estimators.
9.2 Sampling Distribution of the Sample Mean
Facts about the sampling distribution of x
x  
 
2
x

2
n
x   
2
x
2
n


n
The standard error of an estimate is the standard
deviation of its sampling distribution

n
is the standard error of x
Notice that as n increases the sample to sample
variability in x decreases.
Notice that as

2
decreases so does 
2
x
.
9.3 The Central Limit Theorem
If our sample comes from a normal distribution with
mean  and standard deviation  then:
Z
x

has a standard normal distribution
n
Central Limit Theorem
If we sample from a population with mean  and
standard deviation  then:
Z
x

is approximately standard normal for large n .
n
If n  30 or larger, the central limit theorem will apply
in almost all cases
Example
A population of soft drink cans has amounts of liquid
following a normal distribution with   12 and
  0.2 oz.
What is the probability that a single can is between 11.9
and 12.1 oz.?
What is the probability that x is between 11.9 and 12.1
for n = 16 cans?
Example
A population of trees have heights that have a mean of
110 feet and a standard deviation of 20 feet.
A sample of 100 trees is selected
Find P( x  108 feet)
What about P ( X  108) ?
9.5 Sampling Distribution of the Sample
Proportion
Population Proportion
# in population with characteri stic
p
# in population
Sample Proportion
# in sample with characteri stic
p̂ 
n
p̂ is a point estimate of p
 pˆ  p
pq
 
n
pq
 pˆ 
n
2
pˆ
If we sample from a population with a proportion of p,
then Z 
pˆ  p
is approximately standard normal for
pq
large n.
n