Sampling Strategies

Key Points:

  • Probability sampling is a mechanism for reducing bias in the selection of samples.
  • Ensure you become familiar with key technical terms in the literature on sampling such as: representative sample; random sample; non-response; population; sampling error; etc.
  • Randomly selected samples are important because they permit generalizations to the population and because they have certain known qualities.
  • Sampling error decreases as sample size increases.
  • Quota samples can provide reasonable alternatives to random samples; but they suffer from some deficiencies.
  • Convenience samples may provide interesting data, but it is crucial to be aware of their limitations in terms of generalizability.
  • Sampling and sampling-related error are just two sources of error in social survey research.

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