Samples are used in much of the research conducted in both the social and natural/physical sciences. Even in the fields of history, music, and English, samples are often used in empirical investigations. Because the quality of the sample(s) used in a study has such an important bearing on the trustworthiness of a researcher's conclusions, here the following six critical aspects are considered:
- The definition of sample
- Why researchers use samples
- How sample data are used
- What kinds of samples researchers use
- Why the concept of “sampling error” is important
- The misconceptions people have about samples
A sample is a subset of a population. The population can be a set of people, animals, or things. For example, the population might be made up of all children who, on a given day, ...
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