# Multiple samples vs. bootstrapping

I'm somewhat new to understanding statistics meaningfully, and the bootstrap in particular.

Let's say you're doing something (polling, running experiment, whatever), and can afford to get 1000 samples.

From what I understand, before the bootstrap method existed (> 25-30 years ago), you'd be better off with, say, 10 sets of 100 samples each and calculating your statistics based on sampling distributions. (As an aside, is there a good way to calculate the ratio of sets/samples? I'm know that you get a smaller standard error when n is larger, but don't know if there is a "sweet spot", and from my rather limited understanding, it's preferable to have n > 30 to avoid messing around with t statistics).

But now that bootstrapping exists, my understanding is that you get one set of all 1000 samples (since this will be a better proxy for real poplulation than 100 would be), and do the bootstrapping resampling magic based on that.

Is this correct? Or is best practice some hybrid of the two? Or does it ultimately depend on what the actual activity is?

Thanks!

• Your characterization of statistical methodology "before the bootstrap existed" is unclear and does not seem to correspond to anything that really occurred. This makes your question difficult to understand and perhaps impossible to answer. Could you explain what you are talking about or at least provide a reference to it? – whuber Dec 18 '13 at 16:57
• The bootstrap methodology is only about 25-30 years old, right? So I mean, what statisticians did > 25-30 years ago... – retnuH Dec 18 '13 at 17:34
• Okay I see the paper was written in 1979, and from what understand, it took a few years before it became common practice and people had the computing resources to use it, so 25-30 years is probably about right... – retnuH Dec 18 '13 at 17:38
• I am still mystified: your description does not correspond to anything recognizable in standard statistical practice of any era. I simply cannot tell what procedure you are attempting to contrast with bootstrapping. – whuber Dec 18 '13 at 18:06
• Okay between your mystification and AdamO's answer, I think I see what I've got wrong in my head. His first sentence pretty much nails it on the head, I think! – retnuH Dec 18 '13 at 19:59