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# What is Sampling in Research? - Definition, Methods & Importance

❶But the results of her study will be stronger with 1, surveys, so she like all researchers has to make choices and find a balance between what will give her good data and what is practical.

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.

Cluster sampling also known as clustered sampling generally increases the variability of sample estimates above that of simple random sampling, depending on how the clusters differ between one another as compared to the within-cluster variation. For this reason, cluster sampling requires a larger sample than SRS to achieve the same level of accuracy — but cost savings from clustering might still make this a cheaper option.

Cluster sampling is commonly implemented as multistage sampling. This is a complex form of cluster sampling in which two or more levels of units are embedded one in the other. The first stage consists of constructing the clusters that will be used to sample from. In the second stage, a sample of primary units is randomly selected from each cluster rather than using all units contained in all selected clusters. In following stages, in each of those selected clusters, additional samples of units are selected, and so on.

All ultimate units individuals, for instance selected at the last step of this procedure are then surveyed. This technique, thus, is essentially the process of taking random subsamples of preceding random samples. Multistage sampling can substantially reduce sampling costs, where the complete population list would need to be constructed before other sampling methods could be applied.

By eliminating the work involved in describing clusters that are not selected, multistage sampling can reduce the large costs associated with traditional cluster sampling. In quota sampling , the population is first segmented into mutually exclusive sub-groups, just as in stratified sampling.

Then judgement is used to select the subjects or units from each segment based on a specified proportion. For example, an interviewer may be told to sample females and males between the age of 45 and It is this second step which makes the technique one of non-probability sampling.

In quota sampling the selection of the sample is non- random. For example, interviewers might be tempted to interview those who look most helpful. The problem is that these samples may be biased because not everyone gets a chance of selection.

This random element is its greatest weakness and quota versus probability has been a matter of controversy for several years. In imbalanced datasets, where the sampling ratio does not follow the population statistics, one can resample the dataset in a conservative manner called minimax sampling.

The minimax sampling has its origin in Anderson minimax ratio whose value is proved to be 0. This ratio can be proved to be minimax ratio only under the assumption of LDA classifier with Gaussian distributions.

Probability Sampling — Uses randomization and takes steps to ensure all members of a population have a chance of being selected. There are several variations on this type of sampling and following is a list of ways probability sampling may occur:. Non-probability Sampling — Does not rely on the use of randomization techniques to select members. This is typically done in studies where randomization is not possible in order to obtain a representative sample. Bias is more of a concern with this type of sampling.

The different types of non-probability sampling are as follows:. The following Slideshare presentation, Sampling in Quantitative and Qualitative Research — A practical how to, offers an overview of sampling methods for quantitative research and contrasts them with qualitative method for further understanding.

Examples of Data Collection Methods — Following is a link to a chart of data collection methods that examines types of data collection, advantages and challenges. Qualitative and Quantitative Data Collection Methods - The link below provides specific example of instruments and methods used to collect quantitative data. Sampling and Measurement - The link below defines sampling and discusses types of probability and nonprobability sampling.

Principles of Sociological Inquiry — Qualitative and Quantitative Methods — The following resources provides a discussion of sampling methods and provides examples. This pin will expire , on Change. This pin never expires. Select an expiration date. About Us Contact Us. In nonprobability sampling, the degree to which the sample differs from the population remains unknown.

Random sampling is the purest form of probability sampling. Each member of the population has an equal and known chance of being selected. When there are very large populations, it is often difficult or impossible to identify every member of the population, so the pool of available subjects becomes biased. Systematic sampling is often used instead of random sampling. It is also called an Nth name selection technique. After the required sample size has been calculated, every Nth record is selected from a list of population members.

As long as the list does not contain any hidden order, this sampling method is as good as the random sampling method. Its only advantage over the random sampling technique is simplicity. Systematic sampling is frequently used to select a specified number of records from a computer file.

Stratified sampling is commonly used probability method that is superior to random sampling because it reduces sampling error. A stratum is a subset of the population that share at least one common characteristic. Examples of stratums might be males and females, or managers and non-managers. The researcher first identifies the relevant stratums and their actual representation in the population. Random sampling is then used to select a sufficient number of subjects from each stratum.

Stratified sampling is often used when one or more of the stratums in the population have a low incidence relative to the other stratums.

## Main Topics

Process 1. Identify the population of interest. A population is the group of people 2. Specify a sampling frame. A sampling frame is the group of people from which you will draw your 3. Specify a sampling method. There are basically two ways to choose a sample from 4. Determine the sample size. In general, larger samples are better.

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The following Slideshare presentation, Sampling in Quantitative and Qualitative Research – A practical how to, offers an overview of sampling methods for quantitative research and contrasts them with qualitative method for further understanding.