Keyboarding skills of their school's sixth graders might suggest that results similar to the ones obtained in their research would perhaps be found in other schools that displayed similar--and apparently influential--conditions, such as, (a) the same computer facilities, (b) the same computer-literacy instruction, (c) teachers with similar training, and (d) pupils from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. However, such generalizing from an available or convenience sample to an assumed population is a very risky venture, since there is no clear way of identifying and measuring the factors that may have biased the sample's results.
The purpose of this chapter has been to describe some of the more popular ways to summarize quantitative research results, to estimate how accurately a sample of people or events represents a population about which the researcher wishes to speak, and to draw samples from populations. The chapter's presentation of these matters has admittedly been cursory at best. For more complete treatments of statistical and sampling techniques, readers can consult the sources listed in the Suggested Readings.
Babbie E. R. ( 1990). Survey research methods ( 2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Barnett V. ( 1991). Sample survey principles and methods. New York: Oxford University Press.
Chaudhuri A., & Vos J. W. E. ( 1988). Unified theory and strategies of survey sampling. New York: Elsevier.
Glass G. V., & Hopkins K. D. ( 1996). Statistical methods in education and psychology ( 3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Gravetter F. J. ( 1988). Statistics for the behavioral sciences. St. Paul, MN: West.
Hays W. L. ( 1994). Statistics ( 5th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
Henry G. T. ( 1990). Practical sampling. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Kish L. ( 1965). Survey sampling. New York: Wiley.
MacNeill I. B., & Humphrey G. J. ( 1987). Applied probability, stochastic processes, and sampling theory. Boston: Klumer.
Popham W. J., & Sirotnkik K. A. ( 1992). Understanding statistics in education. Itasca, IL: Peacock.
Rea L. M., & Parker R. A. ( 1992). Designing and conducting survey research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Sirkin R. M. ( 1995). Statistics for the social sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.