How big does the sample need to be

A very commonly held fallacy is that there needs to be some relationship between the size of the sample selected and the size of the population of interest. This is only the case when sampling very small populations. The point has already been made that random sampling has a sound statistical basis which allows the researcher to have confidence in the fact that results from randomly selected samples are truly representative of the population being studied. The researcher can calculate the degree of confidence which he or she can have in the fact that this is so, and can calculate a range of accuracy within which the results obtained from the sample would be likely to hold in the population from which the sample was drawn. These factors are linked in a statistical formula which indicates that sample size is dependent on the following three factors.

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