Communication research deals with questions such as “How are political issues framed?” or “What effect does violent television content have on its viewers?” These and many other questions apply to a particular population to which researchers want to generalize their results (e.g., all articles selected for a newspaper issue; all television viewers of a nation): the target population. In the first step of every empirical research design, this target population needs to be defined. Sometimes, the population will be small enough to be included entirely in the study. Yet, in many cases, the population is too large to be covered completely, due to time or financial constraints—or simply because it is virtually impossible to do so (e.g., when the target population is an ...
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