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A population consists of all the objects or events of a certain type about which researchers seek knowledge or information. A population might be broad in scope (e.g., adult males living in the United States) or narrow (e.g., blog postings in the first 24 hours after a significant event). Even when a population consists of a relatively small number of objects or events, it is often impractical or impossible to gather data about each member of the population. Instead, researchers select a subset of the population, called a sample, which is a manageable size for observation. From their observations about the sample, researchers make generalizations about the population from which the sample was chosen. The ability of researchers to make generalizations depends on how representative ...

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