Based on a survey of 4113 U.S. adults, researchers at Stanford University concluded that Internet use leads to increased social isolation. The survey was conducted by an Internet-based polling company that selected its samples from a pool of 35,000 potential respondents, all of whom had been given free Internet access and WebTV hardware in exchange for agreeing to regularly participate in surveys conducted by the polling company. Two criticisms of this study were expressed in an article that appeared in the San Luis Obispo Tribune (February 28, 2000). The first criticism was that increased social isolation was measured by asking respondents if they were talking less to family and friends on the phone. The second criticism was that the sample was selected only from a group that was induced to participate by the offer of free Internet service, yet the results were generalized to all U.S. adults. For each criticism, indicate what type of bias is being described and why it might make you question the conclusion drawn by the researchers.
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