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  • By: Arabic Proverb & Marie Kraska
  • In: Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology
  • Edited by: Neil J. Salkind
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), Educational Psychology, School Psychology

He who lends a book is an idiot. He who returns the book is more of an idiot.

Arabic Proverb

It is not always possible or feasible to collect data from every member of a population because of time constraints, lack of resources, or difficulty in identifying or locating all members of a specified group. In these cases, the researcher must select a sample from the larger group known as the target population to whom the researcher wants to generalize. Random samples allow the researcher to use inferential statistics to estimate the extent to which the sample differs from the population.

The target population is the group to which the researcher wishes to generalize, and the sample is a finite subset of the population. For example, if the researcher ...

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