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Choosing a sampling method

The Purpose of Sampling

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1. Random Sampling

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To reflect this, when we come to such a household, we would count the selected person's income twice towards the total. The person who is selected from that household can be loosely viewed as also representing the person who isn't selected. In the above example, not everybody has the same probability of selection; what makes it a probability sample is the fact that each person's probability is known.

When every element in the population does have the same probability of selection, this is known as an 'equal probability of selection' EPS design. Such designs are also referred to as 'self-weighting' because all sampled units are given the same weight.

These various ways of probability sampling have two things in common:. It involves the selection of elements based on assumptions regarding the population of interest, which forms the criteria for selection. Hence, because the selection of elements is nonrandom, nonprobability sampling does not allow the estimation of sampling errors.

These conditions give rise to exclusion bias , placing limits on how much information a sample can provide about the population. Information about the relationship between sample and population is limited, making it difficult to extrapolate from the sample to the population. We visit every household in a given street, and interview the first person to answer the door.

In any household with more than one occupant, this is a nonprobability sample, because some people are more likely to answer the door e. Nonprobability sampling methods include convenience sampling , quota sampling and purposive sampling.

In addition, nonresponse effects may turn any probability design into a nonprobability design if the characteristics of nonresponse are not well understood, since nonresponse effectively modifies each element's probability of being sampled.

Within any of the types of frames identified above, a variety of sampling methods can be employed, individually or in combination. Factors commonly influencing the choice between these designs include:. In a simple random sample SRS of a given size, all such subsets of the frame are given an equal probability. Each element of the frame thus has an equal probability of selection: Furthermore, any given pair of elements has the same chance of selection as any other such pair and similarly for triples, and so on.

This minimizes bias and simplifies analysis of results. In particular, the variance between individual results within the sample is a good indicator of variance in the overall population, which makes it relatively easy to estimate the accuracy of results.

SRS can be vulnerable to sampling error because the randomness of the selection may result in a sample that doesn't reflect the makeup of the population. For instance, a simple random sample of ten people from a given country will on average produce five men and five women, but any given trial is likely to overrepresent one sex and underrepresent the other.

Systematic and stratified techniques attempt to overcome this problem by "using information about the population" to choose a more "representative" sample. SRS may also be cumbersome and tedious when sampling from an unusually large target population. In some cases, investigators are interested in "research questions specific" to subgroups of the population. For example, researchers might be interested in examining whether cognitive ability as a predictor of job performance is equally applicable across racial groups.

SRS cannot accommodate the needs of researchers in this situation because it does not provide subsamples of the population. Systematic sampling also known as interval sampling relies on arranging the study population according to some ordering scheme and then selecting elements at regular intervals through that ordered list.

Systematic sampling involves a random start and then proceeds with the selection of every k th element from then onwards.

It is important that the starting point is not automatically the first in the list, but is instead randomly chosen from within the first to the k th element in the list. A simple example would be to select every 10th name from the telephone directory an 'every 10th' sample, also referred to as 'sampling with a skip of 10'. As long as the starting point is randomized , systematic sampling is a type of probability sampling.

It is easy to implement and the stratification induced can make it efficient, if the variable by which the list is ordered is correlated with the variable of interest. For example, suppose we wish to sample people from a long street that starts in a poor area house No.

A simple random selection of addresses from this street could easily end up with too many from the high end and too few from the low end or vice versa , leading to an unrepresentative sample.

Note that if we always start at house 1 and end at , the sample is slightly biased towards the low end; by randomly selecting the start between 1 and 10, this bias is eliminated. However, systematic sampling is especially vulnerable to periodicities in the list.

If periodicity is present and the period is a multiple or factor of the interval used, the sample is especially likely to be un representative of the overall population, making the scheme less accurate than simple random sampling.

For example, consider a street where the odd-numbered houses are all on the north expensive side of the road, and the even-numbered houses are all on the south cheap side.

Under the sampling scheme given above, it is impossible to get a representative sample; either the houses sampled will all be from the odd-numbered, expensive side, or they will all be from the even-numbered, cheap side, unless the researcher has previous knowledge of this bias and avoids it by a using a skip which ensures jumping between the two sides any odd-numbered skip.

Another drawback of systematic sampling is that even in scenarios where it is more accurate than SRS, its theoretical properties make it difficult to quantify that accuracy. In the two examples of systematic sampling that are given above, much of the potential sampling error is due to variation between neighbouring houses — but because this method never selects two neighbouring houses, the sample will not give us any information on that variation.

As described above, systematic sampling is an EPS method, because all elements have the same probability of selection in the example given, one in ten. It is not 'simple random sampling' because different subsets of the same size have different selection probabilities — e.

When the population embraces a number of distinct categories, the frame can be organized by these categories into separate "strata. There are several potential benefits to stratified sampling. First, dividing the population into distinct, independent strata can enable researchers to draw inferences about specific subgroups that may be lost in a more generalized random sample.

Second, utilizing a stratified sampling method can lead to more efficient statistical estimates provided that strata are selected based upon relevance to the criterion in question, instead of availability of the samples. Even if a stratified sampling approach does not lead to increased statistical efficiency, such a tactic will not result in less efficiency than would simple random sampling, provided that each stratum is proportional to the group's size in the population.

Third, it is sometimes the case that data are more readily available for individual, pre-existing strata within a population than for the overall population; in such cases, using a stratified sampling approach may be more convenient than aggregating data across groups though this may potentially be at odds with the previously noted importance of utilizing criterion-relevant strata.

Finally, since each stratum is treated as an independent population, different sampling approaches can be applied to different strata, potentially enabling researchers to use the approach best suited or most cost-effective for each identified subgroup within the population.

There are, however, some potential drawbacks to using stratified sampling. First, identifying strata and implementing such an approach can increase the cost and complexity of sample selection, as well as leading to increased complexity of population estimates. Second, when examining multiple criteria, stratifying variables may be related to some, but not to others, further complicating the design, and potentially reducing the utility of the strata.

Finally, in some cases such as designs with a large number of strata, or those with a specified minimum sample size per group , stratified sampling can potentially require a larger sample than would other methods although in most cases, the required sample size would be no larger than would be required for simple random sampling.

Stratification is sometimes introduced after the sampling phase in a process called "poststratification". Although the method is susceptible to the pitfalls of post hoc approaches, it can provide several benefits in the right situation.

Implementation usually follows a simple random sample. In addition to allowing for stratification on an ancillary variable, poststratification can be used to implement weighting, which can improve the precision of a sample's estimates.

Choice-based sampling is one of the stratified sampling strategies. In choice-based sampling, [7] the data are stratified on the target and a sample is taken from each stratum so that the rare target class will be more represented in the sample.

The model is then built on this biased sample. The effects of the input variables on the target are often estimated with more precision with the choice-based sample even when a smaller overall sample size is taken, compared to a random sample.

The results usually must be adjusted to correct for the oversampling. In some cases the sample designer has access to an "auxiliary variable" or "size measure", believed to be correlated to the variable of interest, for each element in the population.

These data can be used to improve accuracy in sample design. One option is to use the auxiliary variable as a basis for stratification, as discussed above. Another option is probability proportional to size 'PPS' sampling, in which the selection probability for each element is set to be proportional to its size measure, up to a maximum of 1. In a simple PPS design, these selection probabilities can then be used as the basis for Poisson sampling.

However, this has the drawback of variable sample size, and different portions of the population may still be over- or under-represented due to chance variation in selections.

Systematic sampling theory can be used to create a probability proportionate to size sample. This is done by treating each count within the size variable as a single sampling unit. Samples are then identified by selecting at even intervals among these counts within the size variable. This method is sometimes called PPS-sequential or monetary unit sampling in the case of audits or forensic sampling.

The PPS approach can improve accuracy for a given sample size by concentrating sample on large elements that have the greatest impact on population estimates.

PPS sampling is commonly used for surveys of businesses, where element size varies greatly and auxiliary information is often available—for instance, a survey attempting to measure the number of guest-nights spent in hotels might use each hotel's number of rooms as an auxiliary variable. In some cases, an older measurement of the variable of interest can be used as an auxiliary variable when attempting to produce more current estimates.

Sometimes it is more cost-effective to select respondents in groups 'clusters'. Sampling is often clustered by geography, or by time periods. Nearly all samples are in some sense 'clustered' in time — although this is rarely taken into account in the analysis. For instance, if surveying households within a city, we might choose to select city blocks and then interview every household within the selected blocks. Clustering can reduce travel and administrative costs. In the example above, an interviewer can make a single trip to visit several households in one block, rather than having to drive to a different block for each household.

It also means that one does not need a sampling frame listing all elements in the target population. Instead, clusters can be chosen from a cluster-level frame, with an element-level frame created only for the selected clusters. In the example above, the sample only requires a block-level city map for initial selections, and then a household-level map of the selected blocks, rather than a household-level map of the whole city.

In your textbook, the two types of non-probability samples listed above are called "sampling disasters. The article provides great insight into how major polls are conducted. When you are finished reading this article you may want to go to the Gallup Poll Web site, https: It is important to be mindful of margin or error as discussed in this article.

We all need to remember that public opinion on a given topic cannot be appropriately measured with one question that is only asked on one poll. Such results only provide a snapshot at that moment under certain conditions. The concept of repeating procedures over different conditions and times leads to more valuable and durable results. Within this section of the Gallup article, there is also an error: In 5 of those surveys, the confidence interval would not contain the population percent.

Eberly College of Science. Printer-friendly version Sampling Methods can be classified into one of two categories: Sample has a known probability of being selected Non-probability Sampling: Sample does not have known probability of being selected as in convenience or voluntary response surveys Probability Sampling In probability sampling it is possible to both determine which sampling units belong to which sample and the probability that each sample will be selected.

Simple Random Sampling SRS Stratified Sampling Cluster Sampling Systematic Sampling Multistage Sampling in which some of the methods above are combined in stages Of the five methods listed above, students have the most trouble distinguishing between stratified sampling and cluster sampling.

With stratified sampling one should: With cluster sampling one should divide the population into groups clusters. Stratified sampling would be preferred over cluster sampling, particularly if the questions of interest are affected by time zone.

For example the percentage of people watching a live sporting event on television might be highly affected by the time zone they are in. Cluster sampling really works best when there are a reasonable number of clusters relative to the entire population. In this case, selecting 2 clusters from 4 possible clusters really does not provide much advantage over simple random sampling.

Either stratified sampling or cluster sampling could be used. It would depend on what questions are being asked. In particular when you are studying a number of groups and when sub-groups are small, then you will need equivalent numbers to enable equivalent analysis and conclusions. Good sampling is time-consuming and expensive. Not all experimenters have the time or funds to use more accurate methods.

There is a price, of course, in the potential limited validity of results. When doing field-based observations, it is often impossible to intrude into the lives of people you are studying. Samples must thus be surreptitious and may be based more on who is available and willing to participate in any interviews or studies. Please help and share: Method Best when Simple random sampling Whole population is available. Stratified sampling random within target groups There are specific sub-groups to investigate eg.

Systematic sampling every nth person When a stream of representative people are available eg. Cluster sampling all in limited groups When population groups are separated and access to all is difficult, eg. Method Best when Quota sampling get only as many as you need You have access to a wide population, including sub-groups Proportionate quota sampling in proportion to population sub-groups You know the population distribution across groups, and when normal sampling may not give enough in minority groups Non-proportionate quota sampling minimum number from each sub-group There is likely to a wide variation in the studied characteristic within minority groups.


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Sampling Methods. Sampling and types of sampling methods commonly used in quantitative research are discussed in the following module. Learning Objectives: Define sampling and randomization. Explain probability and non-probability sampling and describes the different types of each.

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There are many methods of sampling when doing research. This guide can help you choose which method to use. Simple random sampling is the ideal, but researchers seldom have the luxury of time or money to access the whole population, so many compromises often have to be made.

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How to do sampling for qual and quant research designs Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. Sampling Let's begin by covering some of the key terms in sampling like "population" and "sampling frame." Then, because some types of sampling rely upon quantitative models, we'll talk about some of the statistical terms used in sampling.

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Video: What is Sampling in Research? - Definition, Methods & Importance - Definition, Methods & Importance The sample of a study can have a profound impact on the outcome of a study. This was a presentation that was carried out in our research method class by our group. It will be useful for PHD and master students quantitative and qualitat.