Confusion reigns about the meaning of “population” or “case” and when to use N and n.

I find unclear (if not contradictory) guidance due to wiggle room in the explanations. For example, the APA 6th edition refers to N and n as “cases” and not (for example) as only breathing or once-breathing humans or animals via direct reference (children) and indirect reference (households).

Example

20 people take a survey of 24 questions.
15 of the answers to the 24 questions receive a 3.5 or higher median score.

When describing the answers, do you use N = 24 and n = 15? Or just state “15 of the 24 answers received a median score of 3.5 or higher? Or something else?

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