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In statistics, a simple random sample from a population is a sample chosen randomly, so that each possible sample has the same probability of being chosen. One consequence is that each member of the population has the same probability of being chosen as any other. In small populations such sampling is typically done "without replacement", i.e., one deliberately avoids choosing any member of the population more than once. Although simple random sampling can be conducted with replacement instead, this is less common and would normally be described more fully as simple random sampling with replacement.

Conceptually, simple random sampling is the simplest of the probability sampling techniques. It requires a complete sampling frame, which may not be available or feasible to construct for large populations. Even if a complete frame is available, more efficient approaches may be possible if other useful information is available about the units in the population.

Advantages are that it is free of classification error, and it requires minimum advance knowledge of the population. It best suits situations where the population is fairly homogeneous and not much information is available about the population. If these conditions are not true, stratified sampling may be a better choice.

See also[edit | edit source]

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