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Don't Try for a Census

Lyrics © 2018 Lawrence M. Lesser
may sing to the tune of "Annie's Song" by John Denver

Don’t try for a census 
when the best thing’s a sample.
But now how could a sample 
surpass trying for all?
Well, samples are faster 
(so less outdated data)
and samples are cheaper 
(less workers to hire)!

Sometimes a census 
simply can’t even be done:
If you needed a blood test, 
should they take some or all?
If they crash-tested all cars, 
they’d have no cars to sell you!
Just take a sample 
from what is mixed well.

If the sample’s much smaller 
than the whole population,
Then precision goals lean on 
the sample size n,
Not the sampling fraction: 
that is really amazing!
Don’t try for a census, 
come sample instead!


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