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Ind Psychiatry J. 2010 Jan;19(1):60-5. doi: 10.4103/0972-6748.77642.

Statistics without tears: Populations and samples.

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Department of Community Medicine, D Y Patil Medical College, Pune, India.


Research studies are usually carried out on sample of subjects rather than whole populations. The most challenging aspect of fieldwork is drawing a random sample from the target population to which the results of the study would be generalized. In actual practice, the task is so difficult that some sampling bias occurs in almost all studies to a lesser or greater degree. In order to assess the degree of this bias, the informed reader of medical literature should have some understanding of the population from which the sample was drawn. The ultimate decision on whether the results of a particular study can be generalized to a larger population depends on this understanding. The subsequent deliberations dwell on sampling strategies for different types of research and also a brief description of different sampling methods.


Methods; population; sample

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