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For example, a "citation analysis" represents a variation of the descriptive survey method.

represents the populations that are being studied. The approach of the sampling helps to

determine the focus of the study and allows better acceptance of the generalizations that

are being made. Careful use of biased sampling can be used if it is justified and as long as

it is noted that the resulting sample may not be a true representation of the population of

the study. There are two different approaches to sampling in survey research:

not know each element's probability of selection in the sample. The most

commonly used nonprobability sampling method is the convenience sampling

approach. With this method, it only samples those who are available and willing

to participate in the survey. The use of this approach allows for convenience for

the researcher while possibly losing data validity due to the lack of representation.

• The probability sampling approach for research methods gives each element a

known chance of being included in the sample. This method is closer to a true

representation of the population. It can be difficult to use due to cost of a rigorous

sampling method, and difficulty in obtaining full coverage of the target

population, but the generalizations that come from it are more likely to be closer

to a true representation of the population. Different forms of probability sampling

are designed to achieve various benefits - e.g. theoretical simplicity, operational

simplicity, detailed information on subpopulations, or minimal cost. Some

common forms:

•

o Equal probability of selection designs (EPS), in which each element of

the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample. This

uniformity makes EPS surveys relatively simple to interpret. Forms of

EPS include Simple random sampling (SRS) and systematic sampling.

•

o Probability-proportional-to-size designs (PPS), in which 'larger'

elements (according to some known measure of size) have a higher chance

of selection. This approach is common in business surveys where the

object is to determine sector totals (e.g. "total employment in

manufacturing sectors"); compared to EPS, concentrating on larger

elements may produce better accuracy for the same cost/sample size.

•

o Stratified random sampling approach, in which the population is

divided into subpopulations (called strata) and random samples are then

drawn separately from each of these strata, using any probability sampling

method (sometimes including further sub-stratification). This may be done

to provide better control over the sample size (and hence, accuracy) within

each subpopulation; when the variable/s of interest are correlated with

subpopulation, it can also improve overall accuracy. Another use for

stratification is when different subpopulations require different sampling

methods - for instance, a business survey might use EPS for businesses

whose 'size' is not known and PPS elsewhere.

Random sampling:

In a probability sample (also called "scientific" or "random" sample) each member of the

target population has a known and non-zero probability of inclusion in the sample.[4] A

survey based on a probability sample can in theory produce statistical measurements of

the target population that are:

• unbiased, the expected value of the sample mean is equal to the population mean

E(ȳ)=μ, and[5]

• have a measurable sampling error, which can be expressed as a confidence

interval, or margin of error.[6]

population, called the sample frame, a randomized process for selecting units from the

sample frame, called a selection procedure, and a method of contacting selected units to

and enabling them complete the survey, called a data collection method or mode.[7] For

some target populations this process may be easy, for example, sampling the employees

of a company by using payroll list. However, in large, disorganized populations simply

constructing a suitable sample frame is often a complex and expensive task.

United States are Area Probability Sampling, Random Digit Dial telephone sampling, and

more recently Address Based Sampling.[8]

Within probability sampling there are specialized techniques such as stratified sampling

and cluster sampling that improve the precision or efficiency of the sampling process

without altering the fundamental principals of probability sampling.

Non-random sampling:

Many surveys are not based on a probability samples, but rather by finding a suitable

collection of respondents to complete the survey. Some common examples of non-

probability sampling are[10]:

• Judgement Samples: A researcher decides which population members to include

in the sample based on his or her judgement. The researcher may provide some

alternative justification for the representativeness of the sample.

• Snowball Samples: Often used when a target population is rare, members of the

target population recruit other members of the population for the survey.

• Quota Samples: The sample is designed to include a designated number of people

with certain specified charateristics. For example, 100 coffee drinkers. This type

of sampling is common in non-probability market research surveys.

• Convenience Samples: The sample is composed of whatever persons can be most

easily accessed to fill out the survey.

In non-probability samples the relationship between the target population and the survey

sample is immeasurable and potential bias is unknowable. Sophisticated users of non-

probability survey samples tend to view the survey as an experimental condition, rather

than a tool for population measurement, and examine the results for internally consistent

relationships.

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