## Population and sample standard deviations

There are two different calculations for the Standard Deviation. Which formula you use depends upon whether the values in your dataset represent an entire population or whether they form a sample of a larger population. For example, if all student users of the library were asked how many books they had borrowed in the past month then the entire population has been studied since all the students have been asked. In such cases the population standard deviation should be used. Sometimes it is not possible to find information about an entire population and it might be more realistic to ask a sample of 150 students about their library borrowing and use these results to estimate library borrowing habits for the entire population of students. In such cases the sample standard deviation should be used.