## 6.2 Describe the sampling process

How did the data make its way from the population to your computer? Being able to describe this process is important for determining whether the data are useful for making inferences about features of the population. As an extreme example, if you are interested in the average age of women in a population, but your sampling process somehow is designed so that it only produces data on men, then you cannot use the data to make an inference about the average age of women. Understanding the sampling process is key to determining whether your sample is *representative* of the population of interest. Note that if you have difficulty describing the population, you will have difficulty describing the process of sampling data from the population. So describing the sampling process hinges on your ability to coherently describe the population.