Samples and Sample Size


How many times do you wish that you could have a few more hours in the day, even a few more minutes? This is another advantage of using statistics. Statistics allow you to build a foundation for data driven decisions without spending many, many extra hours.

Why is this so? Statistics are based on samples and sample size. We have often heard these terms batted around in the context of “random samples or scientific samples” and “the value of a large sample.” Yet, few of us really know or understand how valuable these concepts are.

Sample is a smaller version of the entire population that your dissertation research is about. Sample size is the number of subjects in your study. Although these two terms can be simply and easily defined, there are many important sampling questions that you will have to consider as you plan your dissertation research.

1. What is the difference between using a population and using a sample?

2. Should I use the entire population or should I use a sample in my research?

3. How large should my sample be? How do you determine sample size?

4. What type of sample should I choose; there are so many different sampling strategies?

5. How do I draw a random sample if I am able to do so? There is a simple example for you!

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