When conducting research, it is almost always impossible to study the entire population that you are interested in. As a result, researchers use samples as a way to gather data. A sample is a subset of the population being studied. It represents the larger population and is used to draw inferences about that population. It is a research technique widely used in the social sciences as a way to gather information about a population without having to measure the entire population. There are many different ways to sample a population. Sampling designs include: random sampling, convenience sampling, purposive sampling, snowball sampling, and quota sampling to name a few. Read about all of the major types of sampling designs and see examples of each.