The Population

  • Within your research methods section you need to identify your population 
  • The population can refer to people, animals, planets, data etc…
  • The population is different to the sample
  • Make sure you understand the difference before your start writing
  • You need to define\ describe your population
    • Highlight the common characteristics of your population
    • Consider the implication of your findings
    • Consider the confounding variables
  • You will need to write something like….

College students (<25yrs) will make the first half of the population and the second half will be made up of retired or semi-retired people with an age greater than 60yrs.  Splitting the population in this way will allow for the comparison of accident rates between two very different groups within the population.

Students: typically, students still live at home with their parents, mainly due to a lack of financial independance (Smith (2009)) and often the students first mode of transports is purchased by their parents or is joint funded by their parents, Kidder (1988).  Other students have shared access to the family car, Pickering (1999).  Another key factor to consider is the driving age within Britain, which is currently set at 18years for a full licence, DVLA (2010).  These factors suggest that the sampled students would need to be above the age of 18years and own or have access to a car.  However, this brings an limitation to the sample, do students who own their own car spend more time driving compared to students who share a car…. and so on



Key Information

The participant or data (population) you used will determines the implication of your results

  • Testing teenagers in one college means your findings are only useful when talking about teenagers from that college
  • Testing teenagers from multiple colleges means that your findings are only useful when talking about teenagers who attend college
  • Testing teenagers from multiple places like college, in the workplace or others, means that your findings are useful when talking about all teenagers

Confounding (variable) issues faced by your respondents need to be considered in relation to your hypotheses which you must acknowledge and limit (control) their impact on your findings (results)

  •  Socio-economic status
    •  Wealth
    • Life opportunities
  • Social-perception and Identification
    • Views of the world
    • Society sub groups
  • Personality and projection
    • Introvert, extrovert etc…
    • The image which they show to the world
  • Health issues and risks
    • The experiment increases or brings about health risks, depression, heart attack etc…
    • Are the respondents likely to have health risks

You will need to define characteristics or requirements which you are looking for within your population

  • They are extroverts
  • They have a car
  • They have black hair
  • They have webbed feet


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