An introduction to sampling methods

When you conduct research about a group of people, it’s rarely possible to collect data from every person in that group. Instead, you select a sample. The sample is the group of individuals who will actually participate in the research.

To draw valid conclusions from your results, you have to carefully decide how you will select a sample that is representative of the group as a whole. There are two types of sampling methods:

  • Probability sampling involves random selection, allowing you to make strong statistical inferences about the whole group.
  • Non-probability sampling involves non-random selection based on convenience or other criteria, allowing you to easily collect data.

You should clearly explain how you selected your sample in the methodology section of your paper or thesis.

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How to cite a lecture in MLA

In MLA style, the following format is used to cite a lecture or speech.

Format Speaker last name, First name. “Lecture Title.” Course or Event Name, Day Month Year, Venue, City.
Works Cited entry Dent, Gina. “Anchored to the Real: Black Literature in the Wake of Anthropology.” Moving Together: Activism, Art, and Education, 16 May 2018, The Black Archives, Amsterdam.
In-text citation (Dent)

This format also applies to other types of oral presentation, such as a conference panel or a public talk. The format for citing PowerPoint slides is slightly different. To cite a video recording of a lecture, follow the format for citing videos, listing the speaker in the author position.

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MLA footnotes and endnotes

MLA style requires you to cite sources using parenthetical in-text citations, not notes. However, you can still use footnotes and endnotes in MLA style for other purposes:

  • Citing a lot of sources at once
  • Providing any extra explanation needed about your citation or translation practice
  • Elaborating on ideas
  • Providing additional examples that don’t fit into the main text

Footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page, while endnotes appear at the end of the paper, just before the Works Cited list. MLA allows the use of either type, but stick to one or the other.

Any sources you cite in your footnotes or endnotes must also be included in your Works Cited list, just like sources in the main text.

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Creating an MLA header

The first page of your MLA format paper starts with a four-line left-aligned header containing:

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s name
  • The course name and number
  • The date of submission

After the header, the title of the paper is centred on a new line, in title case. The header and title do not take any special styling, and should be the same font and size as the rest of the paper.

MLA style does not require a separate title page, but one may be included if your instructor requires it or if the paper is a group project. Usually, though, the main body of your paper just starts on the same page, directly under the title.

Include your name and the page number right-aligned in the running head on every page.

MLA header template (Word) MLA header template (Google Docs)

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How to do survey research

Survey research means collecting information about a group of people by asking them questions and analyzing the results. To conduct an effective survey, follow these six steps:

  1. Determine who will participate in the survey
  2. Decide the type of survey (mail, online, or in-person)
  3. Design the survey questions and layout
  4. Distribute the survey
  5. Analyze the responses
  6. Write up the results

Surveys are a flexible method of data collection that can be used in many different types of research.

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How to cite a poem in MLA

When you quote poetry, you have to properly format the quotation and the in-text citation, in order to direct the reader to the correct source entry in the Works Cited list.

Separate lines in a poetry quotation with a slash, and include the poet’s last name either in your text or in parentheses after the quote. To show the location of the quote, include line numbers (if specified in the text) or a page number (if the poem is published across multiple pages).

Quoting and citing poetry in the text

The second stanza begins with an ominous prophetic voice asking “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish?” (Eliot, lines 19–20).

In the Works Cited entry, include the full publication details of the source in which you found the poem (e.g. a book or website). You can use our free MLA citation generator to create Works Cited entries and in-text citations.

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How to cite an interview in MLA

When citing an interview in MLA style, the name of the person being interviewed appears as the author in the in-text citation.

In the Works Cited entry, the interviewee’s name is followed by the title of the interview in quotation marks. If there is no title, use the description “Interview” (with no styling or quotation marks).

If you conducted the interview yourself, add your own name and the date on which the interview took place. If you found the interview in a published source, include the name of the interviewer and full details of the source.

MLA interview citation examples
Works Cited entry In-text citation
Personal interview Streefkerk, Raimo. Interview. Conducted by Shona McCombes, 20 July 2019. (Streefkerk)
Published interview Spark, Muriel. “Unsentimental Voyager.” Interview by Stephanie Merritt. The Guardian, 10 Sep. 2000, www.theguardian.com/­books/­2000/­sep/­10/­fiction.murielspark. (Spark)

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How to cite a movie in MLA

To cite a film in MLA, include the title, the director, any other relevant contributors, the production or distribution company, and the year of release. If there are multiple versions of a film, you also need to identify the version.

Brazil. Directed by Terry Gilliam, performances by Jonathan Pryce and Katherine Helmond, director’s cut, Embassy International Pictures, 1985.

To cite a movie from Netflix (and similar online streaming services), add the name of the website or app (e.g. “Netflix app”). If you watched the movie on an unofficial website or video-sharing platform like YouTube, add the website name, the uploader, the date of upload, and the URL.

Night of the Living Dead. Directed by George A. Romero, Image Ten, 1968. YouTube, uploaded by American Film Institute, 26 Aug. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZy6P72Uu3Y.

In the in-text citation, include the title (or a shortened version of it) and the time range.

(Brazil 29:45–32:37)
(Night 18:25–40)

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How to cite a website in MLA

An MLA website citation includes the author’s name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date, and the URL (without “https://”).

If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead. If the publication date is unknown, or if the content is likely to change over time, add an access date at the end instead.

Websites don’t usually have page numbers, so the in-text citation is just the author name in parentheses. If you already named the author in your sentence, you don’t need to add a parenthetical citation.

The format differs for other types of online content, such as YouTube videos, TED Talks, and podcasts.

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A complete guide to MLA in-text citations

An MLA in-text citation provides the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.

If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by “et al.

If the part you’re citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range. If you want to cite multiple non-consecutive pages at the same time, separate the page numbers with commas.

MLA in-text citations
Number of authors Example
1 author (Moore 37)
2 authors (Moore and Patel 48–50)
3+ authors (Moore et al. 59, 34)

Each in-text citation must correspond to a full reference in the list of Works Cited. You can create and save your citations with the free Scribbr Citation Generator.

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