**Originally published: 27/11/2018 10:38**

Publication number: ELQ-18170-1

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# How to Perform the Population vs Sample Data Check

The first step of every statistical analysis you will perform is the population vs sample data check.

- Step n°1 |
## Population vs sample

The first step of every statistical analysis you will perform is the population vs sample data check or to determine whether the data you are dealing with is a population or a sample.

A population is the collection of all items of interest to our study and is usually denoted with an uppercase N. The numbers we’ve obtained when using a population are called parameters.

A sample is a subset of the population and is denoted with a lowercase n, and the numbers we’ve obtained when working with a sample are called statistics.

Now you know why the field we are studying is called statistics.

Let’s say we want to make a survey of the job prospects of the students studying at the New York University. What is the population?

You can simply walk into New York University and find every student, right? Well, probably, that would not be the population of NYU students. The population of interest includes not only the students on campus but also the ones at home, on exchange, abroad, distance education students, part-time students, even the ones who enrolled but are still at high school. Though exhaustive, even this list misses someone. Point taken. Populations are hard to define and hard to observe in real life.

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