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Statistics Tutorial

# Statistics Tutorial

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09/25/2011

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Statistics Tutorial:Introduction to Survey Sampling
Sampling
refers to the process of choosing asampleof elements from a total population  of elements.
Probability vs. Non-Probability Sampling
Statisticians distinguish between two broad categories of sampling.
Probability sampling
. With probability sampling, every element of the population has a known probability of being included in the sample.
Non-probability sampling
. With non-probability sampling, we cannot specifythe probability that each element will be included in the sample.Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages of non- probability sampling are convenience and cost. However, with non-probability samples,we cannot make probability statements about our sample statistics. For example, wecannot compute aconfidence intervalfor an estimation problem or a region of acceptance  for a hypothesis test.Probability samples, in contrast, allow us to make probability statements about samplestatistics. We can estimate the extent to which a sample statistic is likely to differ from a  population  parameter .The remainder of this tutorial focuses on probability sampling.
Quality of Survey Results
When researchers describe the quality of survey results, they may use one or more of thefollowing terms.
Accuracy
. Accuracy refers to how close a samplestatisticis to a population parameter . Thus, if you know that a sample mean is 99 and the true populationmean is 100, you can make a statement about the sample accuracy. For example,you might say the sample mean is accurate to within 1 unit.
Precision
. Precision refers to how close estimates from different samples are toeach other. For example, the standard error is a measure of precision. When the standard error is small, estimates from different samples will be close in value;and vice versa. Precision is inversely related to standard error. When the standarderror is small, sample estimates are more precise; when the standard error is large,sample estimates are less precise.

Margin of error
. The margin of error expresses the maximum expecteddifference between the true population parameter and a sample estimate of that parameter. To be meaningful, the margin of error should be qualified by a probability statement. For example, a pollster might report that 50% of voters willchoose the Democratic candidate. To indicate the quality of the survey result, the pollster might add that the margin of error is +5%, with aconfidence levelof 90%. This means that if the same sampling method were applied to differentsamples, the true percentage of Democratic voters would fall within the margin of error 90% of the time.The margin of error is equal to half of the width of the confidence intervalIn a  previous lesson, the tutorial described how to construct a confidence interval.
Sample Design
A
sample design
can be described by two factors.
Sampling method
. Sampling method refers to the rules and procedures by whichsome elements of the population are included in the sample. Some commonsampling methods are described elsewhere in the tutorial (seesimple random
Estimator
. The estimation process for calculating sample statistics is called theestimator. Different sampling methods may use different estimators. For example,the formula for computing a mean score with a simple random sample is differentfrom the formula for computing a mean score with a stratified sample. Similarly,the formula for thestandard error  may vary from one sampling method to the next.The "best" sample design depends on survey objectives and on survey resources. For example, a researcher might select the most economical design that provides a desiredlevel of precision. Or, if the budget is limited, a researcher might choose the design that provides the greatest precision without going over budget. Or other factors might guidethe choice of sample design.
Statistics Tutorial:Analysis of Simple Random Samples
Simple random sampling
refers to a sampling method that has the following properties.
The population consists of
N
objects.
The sample consists of
n
objects.

All possible samples of
n
objects are equally likely to occur.The main benefit of simple random sampling is that it guarantees that the sample chosenis representative of the population. This ensures that the statistical conclusions will bevalid.There are many ways to obtain a simple random sample. One way would be the lotterymethod. Each of the
N
population members is assigned a unique number. The numbersare placed in a bowl and thoroughly mixed. Then, a blind-folded researcher selects
n
numbers. Population members having the selected numbers are included in the sample.
Notation
The following notation is helpful, when we talk about simple random sampling.
σ: The knownstandard deviationof the population.
σ
2
: The known variance of the population.
P
: The true population  proportion.
N
: The number of observations in the population.
x: The sample estimate of the population mean.
s
: The sample estimate of the standard deviation of the population.
s
2
: The sample estimate of the population variance.
p
: The proportion of successes in the sample.
n
: The number of observations in the sample.
SD
: The standard deviation of the sampling distribution.
SE
: Thestandard error . (This is an estimate of the standard deviation of thesampling distribution.)
Σ = Summation symbol, used to compute sums over the sample. ( To illustrate itsuse, Σ x
i
= x
1
+ x
2
+ x
3
+ ... + x
m-1
+ x
m
)
The Variability of the Estimate
The precisionof asample design is directly related to the variability of the estimate. Two common measures of variability are thestandard deviation(SD) of the estimate and the