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Published by: api-3830923 on Oct 18, 2008
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Chapter 7
–Sampling V.E.S College of Arts, Science & Commerce
Chapter 7
Chapter 7
–Sampling V.E.S College of Arts, Science & Commerce
Census versus Sample
Census in simple terms means to measure each element in the group or population of interest.
A part of a population, or a subset from a set of units, which is provided bysome process or other, usually by deliberate selection with the object of investigating the properties of the parent population or set.
Surveys of industrial consumers or of distributors of consumer products arefrequently in the form of a census.
However there are certain reasons, which make census impractical or evenimpossible. The reasons are as follows:
Cost: Cost is an obvious constraint on the determination of whether a censusshould be taken. If information is desired on grocery purchase and usebehaviour (frequencies and amounts of purchase of each product category,average amount kept at home and the like) and the population of interest is allhouseholds in a country, the cost will preclude a census being taken. Thus asample is the only logical way of obtaining new data from a population of thissize.
Time : The kind of cost we have just considered is an outlay cost. The timeinvolved in obtaining information from either a census or a sample involvesthe possibility of also incurring an opportunity cost. That is, the decision untilinformation is obtained may result in a smaller gain or a larger loss than wouldhave been the case from making the same decision earlier. The opportunity tomake more (or save more, as the case may be) is, therefore, foregone.
Accuracy : A study using a census, by definition, contains no sampling error. Astudy using a sample may involve sampling error in addition to other types of error. Other things being equal, a census will provide more accurate data thana sample.However it has been argued that a more accurate estimate of the populationof a country could be made from a sample than from a census. Taking acensus of a population on a “mail out – mail back” basis requires that thenames and addresses of almost all households be obtained, census
Chapter 7
–Sampling V.E.S College of Arts, Science & Commerce
questionnaires mailed, and interviews conducted of those not responding.The questionnaires are sent to a population of which only about half havecompleted high school. The potential for errors in a returned questionnaire istherefore high.
Destructive nature of the measurement: Measurements are sometimesdestructive in nature. When they are, it is apparent that taking a census wouldusually defeat the purpose of a measurement. If one were producingfirecrackers, electrical fuses, or gas seed, performing a functional use test onall products for quality control purposes would not be considered from aneconomic standpoint. A sample is then the only practical choice. On the other hand, if the light bulbs, bicycles, or electrical appliances are to be tested, a100% sample (census) may be entirely reasonable. 
Advantages of Sampling
1.Sampling is cheaper than a census survey. It is obviously more economical, for instance, to cover a sample of households than all households in a territoryalthough the cost per unit of study may be higher in a sample survey than in acensus.2.Since magnitude of operations involved in a sample survey is small, both theexecution of the fieldwork and the analysis of the results can be carried outspeedily.3.Sampling results in greater economy of effort as relatively small staffs isrequired to carry out the survey and to tabulate and process the survey data.4.A sample survey enables the researcher to collect more detailed informationthan would otherwise be possible in a census survey. Also, information of amore specialised type can be collected, which would not be possible in acensus survey on account of availability of a small number of specialists.5.Since the scale of operations involved in a sample survey is small, the quality of interviewing, supervision and other related activities can be better than thequality in a census survey.

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