chapter  6
Sampling and statistical significance
Pages 20

The issue of sampling is important because it is rarely the case that we have sufficient time and resources to conduct research on all of those individuals who could potentially be included in a study. Two points of clarification are relevant at this early stage. We talk about sampling from a population in the introduction to this chapter. It should be recognised that when we sample, it is not necessarily people who are being sampled. We can just as legitimately sample other units of analysis such as organisations, schools, local authorities, and so on. Second, by a ‘population’ is meant a discrete group of units of analysis and not just populations in the conventional sense, such as the population of England and Wales. Populations can be populations of towns, of particular groups (e.g. all accountants in the UK), of individuals in a firm, or of firms themselves. When we sample, we are selecting units of analysis from a clearly defined population.