While working in a Boulder, CO coffee shop, this post reminded me of the importance of making sure your sample is representative of whomever it is you want to learn more about.

Looking around, it would seem like Mac has a very healthy market share (I’m one of the sole PC users here), but of course they are a niche maker of computers.

In contrast, the article I was reading made it sound like doom and gloom for Mac, until at the end, where they stated the proportion of students who want a Mac is still double the current market share of Macs in the US.

Obviously, my coffee shop “sample” and the online sample the article relied on are not representative of the same larger population, though each could be representative of some larger population.

The bottom line is, don’t forget to consider how your sample (who you’re asking) no matter how large or small, may be different from the larger population (who you’re looking at).