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Chapter 6

Population, Samples, and Sampling


Ready to Review? 

This website on sampling, from Columbia University, is part of their QMSS e-Lessons project. The Pew Research Center also offers a series of videos on methods, check out this video to see how the Pew Research Center uses random sampling to get representative results. 


Generating Random Numbers

Several different web sites offer the opportunity to download random number generators. The Research Randomizer can be used online and the results saved to your computer. It is a free service designed to assist students and professors in generating random numbers for research purposes. The website is complete with a tutorial and help functions to assist the user in setting up a number generating program.  


Figuring Out Sample Size

There are several online calculators to help you figure out the size of the sample needed for your research project. Try this sample size calculator or this one.

Sampling the Web

Because the Internet is so vast and changes so rapidly, it can be a fascinating context for generating and answering research questions. But how could a researcher sample from the entire population of web pages? Read this article by Chareen Snelson, Boise State University.


Using Amazon's Mechanical Turk to Diversify a Sample

This article by Kim Sheehan explains why and how to use Mechanical Turk.


More on Sampling

I highly recommend Johnnie Daniel's book, Sampling Essentials: Practical Guidelines for Making Sampling Choices.  

What Are Replication Studies, and Why Do Communication Scientists Do Them?

Watch this short video by Dr. David Westerman for answers to these questions. His co-authored article on replication is in Communication Studies.


Updated August 12, 2020


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