# Single sample versus multiple sample

I have a jar with white and black balls. Total number of balls in the jar is 100000. I want to estimate the proportion of white balls. My constraint is that the sample size for estimation should be low, lets assume 500 balls. I am debating between two approaches.

1. Draw a single sample of 500 balls, $\hat{p}$ = number of white balls divided by 500
2. Draw 10 samples of 50 balls each. Calculate the proportion of white balls in each sample, i. e., $[r_1, r_2, ..., r_{10}]$. Estimated $\hat{p}$ = average of $[r_1, r_2, ..., r_{10}]$.

Which method should I use so that I am less susceptible to sampling error?

• Both methods will give exactly the same answer, I'm afraid.
– Pat
Oct 17, 2013 at 10:07
• With this sort of question it is important to consider whether balls are replaced after drawing. Would you a) replace each ball before drawing the next one, or b) for approach 2, replace the balls after each sample of 50, or c) not replace at all? Oct 17, 2013 at 10:11
• I ran an experiment with both approaches. In approach 2, each sample of 50 is drawn without replacement. But I draw the sample of the next 50 with replacement. Like Pat mentions I found that both estimations yield similar results. My follow up question is will it make more sense to draw the sample of 50 with replacement?
– ryk
Oct 17, 2013 at 10:17
• Ohh, I hadn't thought about sampling with/without replacement. I just assumed the former. Disregard my earlier comment.
– Pat
Oct 17, 2013 at 10:24
• @ryk I edited your question for consistent notation and terminology, please check if it is still what you wanted to ask (or roll back with my apologies).
– Momo
Oct 17, 2013 at 10:39