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Sampling: Statnotes from NCSU's Public Administration Program

Sampling: Statnotes from NCSU's Public Administration Program

Sampling is choosing which subjects to measure in a research project. Usually the subjects are people, but subjects could also be organizations, cities, even nations. Measurement is typically accomplished through survey instruments, but could also be by observation, archival record, or other method. Regardless, sampling will determine how much and how well the researcher may generalize his or her findings. A bad sample may well render findings meaningless. Sampling in conjunction with survey research is not only one of the most popular approaches to data collection in the social sciences, random sampling is also the foundation assumption for much of inferential statistics and significance testing.

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