How do I go about finding the population and what the sample is, based on a very limited information?
Mass Maritime has a requirement to provide berths on the training ship for all qualified cadets, sounds simple. But like all schools not everyone you accept comes, some leave after orientation, some leave during the fall, some get suspended for breaking the rules; some don't pass the required courses. The training 'cruise' is very expensive to run and you don't want empty beds, besides it is a state school and you turn away many applicants every year. So how do you know how many to admit?
If the study is for Mass Maritime only (I mean the Cruise is running for sufficient period of time and we can reasonably do the study on it.) then the population is all the past, current and future accepted cadets to the Mass Maritime till date. From this population we can know what proportion of cadets did not join after being accepted by the Cruise, what proportion left in between for different reasons and what proportion finally finish the program. These proportions would help us to know how many cadets ...
362 words are given on how to approach a situation with limited information and extract the statistics you need.