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Generalizability

In designing their study, researchers have to think about generalizability, the extent to which their findings can be applied to the larger population of which their sample was a part. There are many factors to consider depending on the research design used. With surveys, if a sample is random, if almost all subjects agree to participate, and if the response rate for every question is high, we can say that the sample is representative of the targeted population and that the findings are generalizable to that population. With observation research, on the other hand, the findings are generalizable to the group or setting studied, but it is difficult to generalize beyond that setting.