A probability sample is one in which members are chosen from a target population using methods that rely on chance such as random number tables. In probability sampling, all members of the target population have a nonzero probability of being chosen; the probability of selection for each can be calculated. Probability samples are superior to nonprobability samples in that the extent to which the sample varies from the target population can be calculated, and in the absence of other biases, study results may be generalizable to the target populations.

Probability versus Nonprobability Sampling

Due to limits on resources and time, researchers are rarely able to observe every member of a target population, or the group for which a researcher wishes to generalize the results of a study. ...

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