Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
sampling errorSurgical pathology An error in a diagnostic work-up, in which insufficient, inadequate, or non-representative material is obtained for analysis, especially biopsy material, less commonly, cytologic samplings
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
sampling error(in statistics) a statistical phenomenon in which the variation within a sample is inversely related to the size of the sample. In other words, the smaller the sample the larger the sample error. Thus if 100 people toss 10 coins each, the variation within each sample would be quite high, from perhaps 2 heads: 8 tails, to 8 heads: 2 tails. However, if the same 100 people toss 1000 coins each, the variation would be expected to be proportionately less, from perhaps 350 heads: 650 tails to 650 heads: 350 tails. The variation in a sample can be expressed as, for example, mean ± standard error.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005