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Basic Interval Statistics

Gorman Industries, LLC wants to give a short survey to a sample of hires who have been with the company for less than one year, roughly several thousand employees. They want to be able to establish a confidence interval for the proportion of new hires that are happy with Gorman Industries.

Plan 1: The HR manager will wait at the entrance as people are entering and leaving a quarterly employee communications meeting. Whenever he sees someone with a red badge, which indicates under one year with Gorman Industries, he will hand them a survey packet with instructions on completion.

Plan 2: E-mail new employees with the packet attached and request they complete it and e-mail it back within three days.

Which plan would you use and why?


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The second plan is likely more reliable as long as you have a good response rate. Samples are usually evaluated by the process by which the participants were selected rather than by their final composition or size.

Plan 1 is a "convenience sample" or "accidental sample." That is, you would be getting all the new hires that attend the quarterly meetings. However, those that are sick, work at a remote location. Or those that are talking to someone and so you do not notice their badge. While this makes it easy to collect the data (convenient), those attending ...

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