Sampling Methods Essays

Sampling Methods Essays

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Sampling Methods

A great deal of sociological research makes use of sampling. This is a
technique aiming to reduce the number of respondents in a piece of
research, whilst retaining - as accurately as possible - the
characteristics of the whole group.

The purpose of taking a sample is to investigate features of the
population in greater detail than could be done if the total
population was used, and to draw inferences about this population. In
addition, at the practical level, a sample is likely to be both
cheaper and quicker to investigate.

All sampling will involve error and sociologists have developed
sampling techniques in order to minimize this error. All methods of
sampling make use of a sampling frame.


Sampling frame
--------------

A sampling frame is the list of members of the total population of
interest. From this list a sample to study can be drawn. For example,
such a list may be an electoral register, if information about those
with voting rights is sought, or the family practitioner committee
lists if a health survey is projected, or vehicle registration lists,
if car ownership or road transport is under study.


Types of sampling
-----------------

The random sample

For inferences about a population to be valid, the sample must be
truly representative, the only way to ensure this is to take a Random
sample. This involves using either random numbers or systematic
sampling. Random numbers are used to ensure that every individual in a
sampling frame has an equal chance of being selected as a member of
the sample. Systematic samplinginvolves randomly selecting the first
individual fro...


... middle of paper ...


...espondents reply out of a sample of 200, is this 45%
or 90% in favour of a particular action if 90 out of the 100 answer
yes?

Second, there will be choice involved at three levels in the sample
and all ca introduce bias. The choosing of the sample, the choosing of
questions, and the choosing of significant responses.

Finally, there is the judgment of interviewers, especially in quota
sampling.

Generally, sampling seeks to avoid the possibility of 'freaks'
occurring and the larger the sample, the less likelihood there is of
this happening. The greater the variety of characteristics in the
population being measured, the larger and more carefully designed the
sample needs to be. Ultimately, the operation of a sample survey comes
down to a running battle against sources of bias - a battle, which is
never won.

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