What is sampling?
A shortcut method for investigating a whole population
Data is gathered on a small part of the whole parent population or sampling frame, and used to
inform what the whole picture is like
In reality there is simply not enough; time, energy, money, labour/man power, equipment, access to
suitable sites to measure every single item or site within the parent population or whole sampling frame.
Therefore an appropriate sampling strategy is adopted to obtain a representative, and statistically valid
sample of the whole.
Least biased of all sampling techniques, there is no subjectivity - each member of the total
population has an equal chance of being selected
Can be obtained using random number tables
Samples are chosen in a systematic, or regular way.
They are evenly/regularly distributed in a spatial context, for example every two metres along a
They can be at equal/regular intervals in a temporal context, for example every half hour or at set
times of the day
They can be regularly numbered, for example every 10th house or person
This method is used when the parent population or sampling frame is made up of sub-sets of known size.
These sub-sets make up different proportions of the total, and therefore sampling should be stratified to
ensure that results are proportional and representative of the whole.
A. Stratified systematic sampling
The population can be divided into known groups, and each group sampled using a systematic approach.
The number sampled in each group should be in proportion to its known size in the parent population.
For example: the make-up of different social groups in the population of a town can be obtained, and then
the number of questionnaires carried out in different parts of the town can be stratified in line with this
information. A systematic approach can still be used by asking every fifth person.
B. Stratified random sampling
A wide range of data and fieldwork situations can lend themselves to this approach - wherever there are
two study areas being compared, for example two woodlands, river catchments, rock types or a
population with sub-sets of known size, for example woodland with distinctly different habitats.
Random point, line or area techniques can be used as long as the number of measurements taken is in
proportion to the size of the whole.
Cluster sampling is a sampling technique where the entire population is divided into groups, or
clusters, and a random sample of these clusters are selected. All observations in the selected clusters
are included in the sample.
A sampling method of gathering representative data from a group. As opposed to random
sampling, quota sampling requires that representative individuals are chosen out of a
specific subgroup. For example, a researcher might ask for a sample of 100 females, or 100
individuals between the ages of 20-30.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SAMPLING
A probability sampling method is any method of sampling that utilizes some form
of random selection. In order to have a random selection method, you must set up some
process or procedure that assures that the different units in your population have equal
probabilities of being chosen. Humans have long practiced various forms of random
selection, such as picking a name out of a hat, or choosing the short straw. These days,
we tend to use computers as the mechanism for generating random numbers as the
basis for random selection.
Simple random sampling
In this technique, each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected as
subject. The entire process of sampling is done in a single step with each subject selected
independently of the other members of the population.
is also known as proportional random sampling. This is a probability sampling technique
wherein the subjects are initially grouped into different classifications such as age,
socioeconomic status or gender.
can be likened to an arithmetic progression wherein the difference between any two
consecutive numbers is the same. Say for example you are in a clinic and you have 100
This probability sampling technique involves a combination of two or more sampling
techniques enumerated above. In most of the complex researches done in the field or in the
lab, it is not suited to use just a single type of probability sampling.
is done when simple random sampling is almost impossible because of the size of the
population. Just imagine doing a simple random sampling when the population in question is
the entire population of Asia
sampling is a sampling technique where the samples are gathered in a process that does not
give all the individuals in the population equal chances of being selected.
Convenience sampling is a non-probability sampling technique where subjects are selected
because of their convenient accessibility and proximity to the researcher.
Sequential sampling is a non-probability sampling technique wherein the researcher picks
a single or a group of subjects in a given time interval, conducts his study, analyzes the
results then picks another group of subjects if needed and so on.
is a non-probability sampling technique wherein the assembled sample has the same
proportions of individuals as the entire population with respect to known characteristics, traits
or focused phenomenon.
Judgmental sampling is a non-probability sampling technique where the researcher
selects units to be sampled based on their knowledge and professional judgment.
Snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling technique that is used by researchers to
identify potential subjects in studies where subjects are hard to locate.
Basic Statistical Symbols[*]
A distribution, also called the distribution for the independent variable
A distribution that is that the not same as X, also called the dependent
Sum all the elements [numbers] in the distribution
Square all the elements [numbers] then add them to each other
Add all the elements then square the summation
N The number of elements in a population distribution
n The number of elements in a sample distribution
X1 The first element [number] in a distribution
X2 The second element [number] in a distribution
Xn The last element in a distribution
… All the elements between two points in a distribution
Y Multiply X1 by Y1, X2 by Y2, …, Xn by Ynand sum the distribution
Greek letter for alpha: the intercept or a type I error
Greek letter for beta: the slope or a type II error
Greek letter for sigma, meaning the standard deviation for the
s Letter s, meaning the standard deviation for the sample
Letter s square, meaing the variance for the sample
s1 In a time series, the first data point; subscripts note the location of the
sn – 1 In a time series, the second to the last data point.
sn In a time series, the last data point.
Greek letter mu, meaning the [arithmetic] mean of the population
Also call "X-bar" meaning the [arithmetic] mean of the sample
Gm Geometric mean
Hm Harmonic mean
Data Collection Methods
As we have seen in the definition of statistics, data collection is a fundamental aspect and as a
consequence, there are different methods of collecting data which when used on one particular set will
result in different kinds of data. Let's move on to look at these individual methods of collection in order to
better understand the types of data that will result.
Census Data Collection is a method of collecting data whereby all the data from each and
every member of the population is collected.
Sample Data Collection which is commonly just referred to as sampling, is a method which
collects data from only a chosen portion of the population.
Experimental Data Collection involves one performing an experiment and then collecting
the data to be further analyzed. Experiments involve tests and the results of these tests are
Observational Data Collection method involves not carrying out an experiment but
observing without influencing the population at all. Observational data collection is popular
in studying trends and behaviors of society where, for example, the lives of a bunch of
people are observed and data is collected for the different aspects of their live.