Sampling theory says a correctly taken sample of an appropriate size will yield results that can be applied to the population as a whole. There is a lot in this statement but the two fundamental questions to ensure generalization are:
- How is a sample taken correctly?
- How big should the sample be?
A population is the group that you want to study for your investigation, and about which you will make a conclusion. Because you cannot always interview or survey an entire population because it is too large, or because you cannot reach all members to try out a new medicine, etc., you pick a sample , a smaller representative group, from which you will make generalizations about the population. For example, you and four of your classmates can be a sample of your class, a sample of your high school's students, a sample of your country and so on. You can define a sample as a more concrete portion of a population or populations that you choose to represent. A sampling frame is the largest sample that can be obtained from a population.
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