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A representative sample is one that has strong external validity in relationship to the target population the sample is meant to represent. As such, the findings from the survey can be generalized with confidence to the population of interest. There are many factors that affect the representativeness of a sample, but traditionally attention has been paid mostly to issues related to sample design and coverage. More recently, concerns have extended to issues related to nonresponse.

Determining Representativeness

When using a sample survey to make inferences about the population from which the sampled elements were drawn, researchers must judge whether the sample is actually representative of the target population. The best way of ensuring a representative sample is to (a) have a complete list (i.e. sampling frame) of ...

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