I need to know the advantages and disadvantages of using a sample or a population to collect data. I understand what a sample is and what a population is, but I do not know what the advantages and disadvantages would be. Can someone help?
- No need for sampling! (The entire population is in your dataset)
- Your findings would be representative of the population (since your analyses are based on the population).
- To collect all of the information for a population it would likely take a great deal of time, which means more effort and money.
- Usually the only option - it would be a rare scenario to have data on an ENTIRE population.
- You can make reliable estimates of the population with less time, effort, and money. (If the sample is representative of the population of interest)
- None, as long as the sample is representative of the population of interest. Otherwise, bias aplenty! And bias means that you will have some explaining to do!
As you can see, the advantages of the population are in regards to having all the information that you would ever want; however, sampling is usually the reality as a function of time, effort, and most importantly, money. By ensuring adequate sampling from the population of interest, a representative sample can be extracted to perform analyses and identify findings that one would uncover while looking at the entire population at a fraction of the cost.