Introduction:

SQL is a powerful language used to manipulate and manage data in relational databases. One of the common tasks in SQL is to extract a random sample from a large dataset. In this article, we will discuss how to select a random sample in SQL using different methods and provide code examples for each method.

Method 1: Using the RAND() function

The RAND() function is a built-in function in SQL that generates a random number between 0 and 1 for each row in the result set. To select a random sample, we can use the RAND() function in a query and filter the result set based on a specified range.

Here's an example of how to use the RAND() function to select a random sample of 10 records from the "customers" table:

```
SELECT *
FROM customers
WHERE RAND() <= 0.1
LIMIT 10;
```

In this example, the `WHERE RAND() <= 0.1`

clause filters the result set to include only those rows where the value of RAND() is less than or equal to 0.1. The `LIMIT 10`

clause limits the result set to 10 records.

Note that the RAND() function generates a different random number for each row in the result set, so the results of this query will be different every time it's executed.

Method 2: Using the ORDER BY clause with RAND()

Another method to select a random sample is to sort the result set using the RAND() function and limit the number of records returned. The following example demonstrates this method by selecting a random sample of 10 records from the "customers" table:

```
SELECT *
FROM customers
ORDER BY RAND()
LIMIT 10;
```

In this example, the `ORDER BY RAND()`

clause sorts the result set by the values generated by the RAND() function. The `LIMIT 10`

clause limits the result set to 10 records.

Method 3: Using the TABLESAMPLE clause

The TABLESAMPLE clause is a feature in SQL that allows you to specify the percentage of rows to be returned from a table. This method is efficient and straightforward, as it doesn't require sorting or filtering the result set.

Here's an example of how to use the TABLESAMPLE clause to select a random sample of 10% of records from the "customers" table:

```
SELECT *
FROM customers
TABLESAMPLE (10 PERCENT);
```

In this example, the `TABLESAMPLE (10 PERCENT)`

clause specifies that the query should return 10% of the records in the "customers" table. The percentage can be adjusted to return a different sample size.

Method 4: Using the OFFSET and FETCH clauses

The OFFSET and FETCH clauses are used in SQL to specify the number of rows to skip and the number of rows to return, respectively. To select a random sample using these clauses, we can calculate the offset based on the total number of records in the table and a random number generated using the RAND() function.

Here's an example of how to use the OFFSET and FETCH clauses to select a random sample of 10 records from the "customers" table:

```
WITH cte AS (
SELECT ROW_NUMBER() OVER (ORDER BY (SELECT NULL)) AS rn, *
FROM customers
)
SELECT *
FROM cte
OFFSET FLOOR(RAND() *
Method 5: Using the ROWNUM pseudo column
The ROWNUM pseudo column is used in some databases, such as Oracle, to assign a unique number to each row in a result set. To select a random sample using the ROWNUM pseudo column, we can generate a random number for each row and filter the result set based on a specified range.
Here's an example of how to use the ROWNUM pseudo column to select a random sample of 10 records from the "customers" table in Oracle:
```

SELECT *

FROM (

SELECT *, ROWNUM rn

FROM customers

ORDER BY dbms_random.value

)

WHERE rn <= 10;

```
In this example, the `SELECT *, ROWNUM rn` clause assigns a unique number to each row in the result set using the ROWNUM pseudo column. The `ORDER BY dbms_random.value` clause sorts the result set using the `dbms_random.value` function, which generates a random number. The `WHERE rn <= 10` clause filters the result set to include only those rows where the value of ROWNUM is less than or equal to 10.
Method 6: Using the NEWID() function
The NEWID() function is a built-in function in SQL Server that generates a unique identifier for each row in the result set. To select a random sample using the NEWID() function, we can sort the result set using the NEWID() function and limit the number of records returned.
Here's an example of how to use the NEWID() function to select a random sample of 10 records from the "customers" table in SQL Server:
```

SELECT TOP 10 *

FROM customers

ORDER BY NEWID();

```
In this example, the `ORDER BY NEWID()` clause sorts the result set using the NEWID() function, which generates a unique identifier for each row. The `TOP 10` clause limits the result set to 10 records.
Conclusion:
Selecting a random sample from a large dataset is a common task in SQL. In this article, we discussed six different methods for selecting a random sample, each with code examples for different database systems. Depending on the database system and the size of the dataset, some methods may be more efficient or easier to use than others. Regardless of the method used, it is important to understand the underlying mechanics and limitations of each method to make informed decisions about how to select a random sample in SQL.
## Popular questions
1. What is the purpose of selecting a random sample in SQL?
The purpose of selecting a random sample in SQL is to extract a smaller, representative subset of data from a larger dataset for analysis or testing purposes. This allows you to work with a smaller, more manageable set of data without having to process the entire dataset, saving time and resources.
2. What are some common methods for selecting a random sample in SQL?
Some common methods for selecting a random sample in SQL include using the `RAND()` function, the `ORDER BY RAND()` clause, the `LIMIT` clause, the `OFFSET` clause, the `ROWNUM` pseudo column, and the `NEWID()` function.
3. What is the `RAND()` function in SQL and how is it used to select a random sample?
The `RAND()` function in SQL is a built-in function that generates a random number between 0 and 1 for each row in the result set. To select a random sample using the `RAND()` function, we can sort the result set using the `RAND()` function and limit the number of records returned.
4. What is the `ORDER BY RAND()` clause in SQL and how is it used to select a random sample?
The `ORDER BY RAND()` clause in SQL is used to sort the result set using a random order. To select a random sample using the `ORDER BY RAND()` clause, we can sort the result set using the `ORDER BY RAND()` clause and limit the number of records returned.
5. What is the `LIMIT` clause in SQL and how is it used to select a random sample?
The `LIMIT` clause in SQL is used to limit the number of records returned in a result set. To select a random sample using the `LIMIT` clause, we can generate a random number for each row and filter the result set based on a specified range, or sort the result set using a random order and limit the number of records returned.
### Tag
Sampling
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