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Sampling

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Unit 3 – Sampling
Teri Isbell
American InterContinental University

Abstract
Three different types of surveys will be discussed for sample size and how they compare to each other. A personal survey’s information is provided and the breakdown of the answers is shown in charts for review. A personal opinion regarding how survey information can be used with a business or other service is discussed.

Introduction
An entertainment, political, and general survey will be examined for sample size and discussed in this paper. A personal survey will also be reviewed and additional information will be discussed as to how they relate to each other and how the information could be used in a business or other setting.
Part 1: Survey Analysis: Entertainment
Social gaming is taking the desktop and console gaming world to new heights by attracting gamers that might not have every touched a video game before according to Shaer, (2010). He reports that 56.8 million American consumers over the age of 6 had participated in social game playing over the past three months. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 population was 281,421,906, and Shaer’s 56.8 million consumers represent approximately 20% of the overall population. I was surprised to find the accuracy in Shaer’s numbers representing one-fifth of the U.S. population in 2010. That is a staggering number of people doing nothing more than playing games! To further understand the impact these numbers have on social gaming sites such as PopCap Games, I visited the Information Solutions Group website that was responsible for collecting the data relative to how the gaming population is broken down among gender, age, frequency of play, etc. Their updated study dated November 14, 2011, led to a plethora of information regarding the social gaming phenomenon and who the players are within the system. It was quite an interesting presentation with more data than is necessary to report, but is intriguing to learn what I must be missing out on in the “real” world. The results of the survey definitely support the theory of the growing number of consumers of all ages, and walks of life that are using social media to connect by playing games such as Farmville, one of PopCap games most popular sites. PopCap games will be able to use this information to further customize their game sites, allowing consumers the social connections without face to face personal encounters, and drawing more consumers to the social gaming network. This in turn will entice businesses to advertise via PopCap games to capture their growing audience for purchasing or using their products or services.
Part 1: Survey Analysis: Politics The political opinion survey I chose asked how closely people followed stories covered by news organizations about the candidates for the 2012 presidential elections. It asked respondents if they followed the information as follows along with their survey results: very closely – 23%, fairly closely – 29%, not too closely – 21%, not at all closely – 27%, don’t know/refused – 0%, not at all closely – 0% (“The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Poll Database,” 2012). Given the population of the U.S. of 311,321,960 as of April 7, 2012 (“U.S. & World Population Clocks,” 2012), the number of people surveyed was extremely minimal at 1,000, and I do not believe that was enough to categorize the entire population in such segments. The survey was conducted by telephone interviews where 599 were interviewed on a landline, and 401 were on cell phones. There doesn’t appear to be any type of consideration made as to the population, but rather, just a random number of respondents that were targeted for the survey. Additional information is needed to determine the validity of their results for the overall population of the U.S., including demographics to fully satisfy the results of the survey information. The results could suffice to say that the population is relatively split when it comes to keeping up with 2012 presidential candidates’ information that is covered by news organizations. This could be used to target a broader area of consumers from the news media, but they will need more information to determine where those consumers are located. If all of the participants lived in the same state for example, they would need to breakdown the respondents by age and gender to determine exactly who and where their target audience would be to penetrate candidate news. If they identify the areas where the information is being followed fairly closely and very closely, they might choose to target more news to this area to solidify their candidates’ position.
Part 1: Survey Analysis: General Opinion
The general opinion survey I chose to review is about Social Security income among recipients. It asks if Social Security is their main source of income or not, or if they didn’t know or refused to answer. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Poll Database was the source I used, and they didn’t provide any information about the total population base they surveyed. They conducted 2,410 telephone interviews, 1,442 were interviewed on a landline, and 968 were interviewed on a cell phone (“The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Poll Database,” 2011). This seemed like a low number of respondents to me, so I went to the sample size calculator to determine how accurate their information was from the respondents. Upon researching, I found that the number of Social Security recipients in December 2010 was about 7.9 million, 4.6 million between 18 and 64, 2 million were 65 or older, and 1.2 million were under the age of 18 (“Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security,” 2011). Based on this information, when I typed in the overall population of 7.9 million, and then 2 million people which represented the 65 or older age group, I found that the sample size of approximately 2,400 was right on target, with a confidence interval of 2 for each one (“Sample Size Calculator,” 2012). The poll results showed that 56% of the respondents said yes to Social Security being their main source of income, 43% said no it was not their main source of income, and 1% did not know or refused to answer (“The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Poll Database,” 2011). The results of this poll tell how many people rely on Social Security for their livelihood, as well as those who have supplemental incomes. This information could be used to reallocate sources to increase the amount of contributions to the fund since there will be many more people needing to use Social Security in coming years with the rise of baby boomers retiring, and life expectancy rates surpassing those in 1935 by 2.6 years in 1990 (“Life Expectancy for Social Security,” n.d.). The information could also be used by companies that hire retired people for part-time work to help them supplement their incomes as well. This also provides data supporting the theories of the system bankrupting in coming years as a result of people living longer, and the increasing overall population in the U.S.
Part 1: Overall Survey Analysis
The first consideration when compiling a survey is to understand the population representing the topic you are surveying. The entertainment survey’s population was clearly identified by census numbers broken down into ages that would most likely be their target audience to get an accurate percentage of social gamers. Like the entertainment survey, the general survey population provided clear, concise numbers relative to their targeted audience to further identify the exact topics they were looking into. In contrast, the political survey population did not clearly identify who or what they used to determine the number of respondents. I believe their numbers were too small to capture the entire population’s opinion about presidential candidates on news information stations. However, their numbers do not provide the population parameter’s that might have been used to determine the number of people they surveyed which includes the mean, a proportion, the variance, or the standard deviation (Board, 2011).
The political survey did not provide enough information to validate whether or not there were enough respondents to generalize the overall population regarding their responses. In comparison, the entertainment and general surveys provided a better picture of the entire population which they drew their respondents from, making their surveys appear more valid. When conducting a survey, it is important to completely understand the population from which the respondents should come from to ensure overall accuracy in their responses based on margin of error, confidence level, and the degree of variability (Board, 2011).
Part 2: Application
Here is a copy of my survey posted on SurveyMonkey:

1. Are you male or female? MaleFemale |
2. How often do you visit social networking websites? Extremely oftenVery oftenModerately oftenSlightly oftenNot at all often |
3. When you're on social networking websites, about how much of your time do you spend looking at what other people have posted? All of itMost of itAbout half of itSome of itNone of it |

Chart # 1

Description of Chart # 1
The chart shown above provides the percentage of the number of males and females that answered my survey. There were a total of 28 respondents, 9 males and 19 females.

Chart # 2

Description of Chart # 2
Chart 2 shown above provides the percentages of people responding to the survey regarding how often they visit social networking websites. While this shows the percentage breakdown, the numbers were as follows: extremely often – 13, very often – 3, moderately often – 6, slightly often – 2, not at all often – 4.

Chart # 3

Description of Chart # 3
Chart 3 shown above provides the percentages of respondents as to how much time they spend on social networking websites viewing other people’s postings. The above percentages breakdown into the following numbers: all of it – 0, most of it – 17, about half of it – 3, some of it – 4, none of it – 4.
Part 2: Use of Results
The information I gathered in the survey from SurveyMonkey shown above could be used by a number of groups, but in particular, any group looking to capture the interests of females since they were the majority of respondents answering. It also shows that nearly half of all respondents visit social networking sights extremely often, and businesses of all types could entice users to try their products by offering free samples, coupons, or just signing up for their services. This is a huge opportunity for companies to advertise free with a large number of users that could result in increased awareness or business. Finally, after reviewing 61% of the respondents spend most of their time looking at what other people have posted; this further solidifies the business opportunities that exist in social networking sites. Additional uses could be gaining awareness of certain causes or in the case of the tornado outbreaks; it became “the” place to go to find out how and where to help the most within the communities that were hit. It was also the place where lost and found animals were posted, many being reunited, and one was reunited in Alabama a couple of weeks ago after it was missing since the April 27, 2011 tornadoes. This just tells us how powerful social networking has become and how it can be applied to everyday life in a good way. Conclusion In conclusion, surveys can provide valuable information to businesses, and interest groups of all types, in all walks of life. It is important to understand how conclusive one wants the information they are collecting to be in order for them to gain an accurate insight from those they are surveying. That being said, I will never look at a survey the same way again……in a good way of course!

References
Board, E. (2011). Elementary Statistics (1st ed.). Chicago: Words of Wisdom, LLC.
Life expectancy for social security. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/history/lifeexpect.html
Market research for strategic decisions. (2012, April 7). Retrieved from http://www.infosolutionsgroup.com/
Sample size calculator. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm#one
Shaer, M. (2010, October 13). Social gaming: the parlor-game crowd logs on. The Christian Science Monitor, pp. n/a-n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/757744629?accountid=144459
The Pew research center for the people & the press poll database. (2011, September). Retrieved from http://www.people-press.org/question-search/?qid=1796682&pid=51&ccid=50
The Pew research center for the people & the press poll database. (2012, March). Retrieved from http://www.people-press.org/question-search/?qid=1808096&pid=51&ccid=51
U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). U.S. census bureau announces 2010 census population counts – apportionment counts delivered to President (Publication CB10-Cn.93). Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. social security administration fast facts & figures about Social Security, 2011. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2011/fast_facts11.html
U.S. & world population clocks. (2012, April 7). Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

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