Sampling methods are a set of tools that statistics uses to track target group on the basis of a study of so-called sample individual. The information obtained from a sample individual allows more effectively study the whole group. These technics allows carry out abstract the exhaustive researches of target group in stressed conditions of the practical necessity (lack of time, place, destructive evaluation of production …) or economic (too expensive).
The theoretical basis of the sampling method is the law of large numbers. According to this law, the average of the results procured from a big quantity of trials have to be close to the expected value, and will have tendency to become closer as more trials are performed. This law, which includes a group of theorems, is proved strictly mathematically. Thus, the arithmetic mean, calculated from a sample individual can reasonably be regarded as a measure of the general population as a whole.
Of course, not every sample can be the basis for characterizing the totality to which it belongs. Such property belongs only to the representative sample, i.e., the samples that accurately reflect the properties of the population. There are methods to ensure sufficient representativeness of the sample. As proven in a number of theorems of mathematical statistics, such a method, providing a large enough amount of samples, is a method of a random selection of elements of a target group, where each element of the target group has an equal chance with the other elements of being selected. The samples obtained in this way are called random sampling. Random sampling is, therefore, an essential condition for the application of the sampling method.
Students, who have decided to write their research projects on sampling methods, have to indicate the application of the sampling method in historical research. They have to emphasize that the scope of this method application in the study of history is vast. First, historians can use the sampling method in conducting all kinds of surveys to study various phenomena and processes of today. Now, however, such studies are more the area of sociologists than historians, even though historians can perform concrete sociological survey, based on historical data, and achieve the best effect of such research.
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