Target Population

In: Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods

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The target population for a survey is the entire set of units for which the survey data are to be used to make inferences. Thus, the target population defines those units for which the findings of the survey are meant to generalize. Establishing study objectives is the first step in designing a survey. Defining the target population should be the second step.

Target populations must be specifically defined, as the definition determines whether sampled cases are eligible or ineligible for the survey. The geographic and temporal characteristics of the target population need to be delineated, as well as types of units being included. In some instances, the target population is restricted to exclude population members that are difficult or impossible to interview. For instance, ...

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