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7.1: Populations Versus Samples
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- Understand the difference between populations and samples.
Who or What?
- A population is the group that is the main focus of a researcher’s interest; a sample is the group from whom the researcher actually collects data.
- Populations and samples might be one and the same, but more often they are not.
- Sampling involves selecting the observations that you will analyze.
- Read through the methods section of a couple of scholarly articles describing empirical research. How do the authors talk about their populations and samples, if at all? What do the articles’ abstracts suggest in terms of whom conclusions are being drawn about?
- Think of a research project you have envisioned conducting as you’ve read this text. Would your population and sample be one and the same, or would they differ somehow? Explain.