Select Page

Census and sample investigations are two approaches used in statistics and research to gather data from a population or a subset of a population. Each approach has its advantages, disadvantages, and applications depending on the research objectives, resources, and constraints. Here’s an overview of both methods:

Census Investigation:


  • A census involves collecting data from every member of a population, leaving no one out.


  1. Comprehensive Coverage: Includes every individual or unit in the population.
  2. High Accuracy: Provides a precise estimate of population characteristics.
  3. Time-Consuming and Costly: Conducting a census for a large population requires significant resources in terms of time, manpower, and funding.
  4. Infeasible for Large Populations: For very large populations, conducting a census may not be practical due to resource constraints.


  • Governmental census (e.g., population census, economic census).
  • Collecting data on small populations or specific groups when resources permit.

Sample Investigation:


  • A sample investigation involves collecting data from a subset (sample) of the population and using this sample to make inferences about the entire population.


  1. Subset of Population: Data is collected from a representative subset of the population.
  2. Less Time-Consuming and Costly: Requires fewer resources compared to a census.
  3. Risk of Sampling Error: The results may not perfectly represent the entire population due to sampling variability.
  4. Statistical Techniques: Uses statistical methods to estimate population parameters and quantify uncertainty.


  • More feasible and practical for large populations.
  • Allows for efficient use of resources.
  • Can provide accurate estimates with appropriate sampling techniques.


  • Risk of sampling error and bias if the sample is not representative.
  • Requires careful planning, design, and execution to ensure the validity of results.

Sampling Techniques:

  • Random Sampling: Every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected.
  • Stratified Sampling: Divides the population into homogeneous subgroups (strata) and samples from each stratum.
  • Cluster Sampling: Divides the population into clusters (e.g., geographical areas) and samples a random selection of clusters.
  • Systematic Sampling: Selects every nth member from a list or sequence.


  1. Coverage:
    • Census: Complete coverage of the population.
    • Sample: Partial coverage, representing a subset of the population.
  2. Accuracy:
    • Census: High accuracy for population parameters.
    • Sample: Accuracy depends on the sample size, design, and representativeness.
  3. Resource Requirements:
    • Census: Requires more resources (time, manpower, funding).
    • Sample: Requires fewer resources but demands careful planning and design.
  4. Applicability:
    • Census: Suitable for small populations or specific groups.
    • Sample: Suitable for large populations and practical when a census is not feasible.

the choice between a census and sample investigation depends on various factors such as the research objectives, population size, available resources, and the desired level of accuracy. Both methods aim to gather data to make informed decisions, understand population characteristics, and conduct meaningful analyses.