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Statistical inference when the sample “is” the population

Greeting, My question is:Can we apply inferential statistics on the entire population in case of the possibilty to have an access to the targated population. The population consists of 100 school middle school principals. If I can collect data from all the middle school principals, can I apply the inferential statiscs.

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    $\begingroup$ In that case you can calculate the relevant population parameters directly so I don't see the need for statistical inference. But, if you did carry out the "usual" statistical inference then you'd need to define exactly what your target population is, since it must be something above-and-beyond the population you have a census of (otherwise, why are you doing any statistics at all?). One possibility is that you're envisioning this as a sample from a hypothetical infinite population but, again, you'd need to specify exactly what that target population is for your results to be interpretable. $\endgroup$ – Macro Jan 3 '13 at 18:26

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