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Types of Sampling

We may then consider different types of probability samples. Although there are a number of different methods that might be used to create a sample, they generally can be grouped into one of two categories:probability samples or non-probability samples.

Probability Samples
The idea behind this type is random selection. More specifically, each sample from the population of interest has a known probability of selection under a given sampling scheme. There are four categories of probability samples described below.

Simple Random Sampling
The most widely known type of a random sample is the simple random sample (SRS). This is characterized by the fact that the probability of selection is the same for every case in the population. Simple random sampling is a method of selecting n units from a population of size N such that every possible sample of size an has equal chance of being drawn.

Stratified Random Sampling
In this form of sampling, the population is first divided into two or more mutually exclusive segments based on some categories of variables of interest in the research. It is designed to organize the population into homogenous subsets before sampling, then drawing a random sample within each subset. With stratified random sampling the population of N units is divided into subpopulations of units respectively. These subpopulations, called strata, are non-overlapping and together they comprise the whole of the population. When these have been determined, a sample is drawn from each, with a separate draw for each of the different strata. The sample sizes within the strata are denoted by respectively. If a SRS is taken within each stratum, then the whole sampling procedure is described as stratified random sampling. The primary benefit of this method is to ensure that cases from smaller strata of the population are included in sufficient numbers to allow comparison. An example makes it easier to understand. Say that you're interested in how job satisfaction varies by race among a group of employees at a firm. To explore this issue, we need to create a sample of the employees of the firm. However, the employee population at this particular firm is predominantly white, as the following chart illustrates:

Systematic Sampling
This method of sampling is at first glance very different from SRS. In practice, it is a variant of simple random sampling that involves some listing of elements - every nth element of list is then drawn for inclusion in the sample The advantages of systematic sampling method over simple random sampling include:

particularly with a captive audience. all students taking introductory sociology courses would have been given a survey and compelled to fill it out. The difference is that with the systematic one the units occur at the same relative position in the stratum whereas with the stratified. Thus. . There are two main reasons for the widespread application of cluster sampling. To gather such a sample. you would likely use some form of non-probability sampling.there is no list of homeless individuals nor are you likely to create such a list. the primary difference between probability methods of sampling and non-probability methods is that in the latter you do not know the likelihood that any element of a population will be selected for study. and so on. 2. accidental. There are some advantages to this design . However. or convenience sampling. you need to get some kind of a sample of respondents in order to conduct your research. It is easier to draw a sample and often easier to execute without mistakes. For example. the houses or the farms in any large geographical region. This method is also sometimes referred to as haphazard. There are four primary types of non-probability sampling methods: Availability Sampling Availability sampling is a method of choosing subjects who are available or easy to find. Nonprobability Sampling Social research is often conducted in situations where a researcher cannot select the kinds of probability samples used in large-scale social surveys. it is found in many surveys that no reliable list of elements in the population is available and that it would be prohibitively expensive to construct such a list. you might think that systematic sampling might be more precise than SRS. Although the first intention may be to use the elements as sampling units. To reiterate. relative to other methods. Cluster Sampling In some instances the sampling unit consists of a group or cluster of smaller units that we call elements or subunits (these are the units of analysis for your study). In effect it stratifies the population into n strata. A researcher can merely stand out on his/her favorite street corner or in his/her favorite tavern and hand out surveys.1. and in some schools you can attain a large number of interviews through this method. the position in the stratum is determined separately by randomization within each stratum. For example. Intuitively. One place this used to show up often is in university courses. In many countries there are no complete and updated lists of the people. we might expect the systematic sample to be as precise as a stratified random sample with one unit per stratum. The primary advantage of the method is that it is very easy to carry out.it is easy to do. This is a particular advantage when the drawing is done in the field. researchers often would conduct surveys of students in their large lecture courses. Years ago. consisting of the 1st k units. say you wanted to study homelessness . the 2nd k units.

Note that for this method. and so on.you have to know what percentage of the population is male and female. As with other non-probability sampling methods. Say you want to make sure you have a sample proportional to the population in terms of gender . but it can be exactly what is needed in some cases .The primary problem with availability sampling is that you can never be certain what population the participants in the study represent. because researchers can set quotas for only a small fraction of the characteristics relevant to a study quota sampling is really not much better than availability sampling. Rather than taking just anyone. the method for selecting cases is haphazard. Moreover. then collect sample until yours matches. you must know the characteristics of the entire population to set quotas. Marketing studies are particularly fond of this form of research design. Purposive Sampling Purposive sampling is a sampling method in which elements are chosen based on purpose of the study. community. Snowball Sampling Snowball sampling is a method in which a researcher identifies one member of some population of interest.study of organization. The primary problem with this form of sampling is that even when we know that a quota sample is representative of the particular characteristics for which quotas have been set. That may be understandable from a practical point of view. Finally. which is usually the case in this form of research. interviewers are more likely to choose those that are better-dressed. you have to know something about the characteristics of the population ahead of time. we have no way of knowing if sample is representative in terms of any other characteristics. To reiterate. speaks to him/her. otherwise there's not much point to setting up quotas. If we set quotas for gender and age. we are likely to attain a sample with good representativeness on age and gender. then asks that person to identify others in the population that the researcher might speak to. but one that may not be very representative in terms of income and education or other factors. and the cases studied probably don't represent any population you could come up with. or some other clearly defined and relatively limited group. seem more approachable or less threatening. you set quotas to ensure that the sample you get represents certain characteristics in proportion to their prevalence in the population. Purposive sampling may involve studying the entire population of some limited group (sociology faculty at Columbia) or a subset of a population (Columbia faculty who have won Nobel Prizes). purposive sampling does not produce a sample that is representative of a larger population. but it introduces bias into research findings. The population is unknown. Quota Sampling Quota sampling is designed to overcome the most obvious flaw of availability sampling. . In choosing males 18-25. This person is then asked to refer the researcher to yet another person. interviewers often introduce bias when allowed to self-select respondents.