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After a researcher has decided the research questions or hypotheses to test, he or she must determine how participants for the study will be selected. In most (if not all) cases, it would be cost-prohibitive to study every member of a population, so determining a sample of that population is necessary. A sample is a selected portion of the population to be studied. Several factors require evaluation to determine the appropriate sampling process. Sampling refers to the process of selecting a subset of a population to represent the entire population. Depending on whether the study is quantitative in nature or qualitative (descriptive), the sampling process will vary greatly.

Two sampling processes encompass how samples are selected: probability sampling and nonprobability sampling. This entry discusses those two ...

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