
CONCEPTS AND
TERMINOLOGY
Selecting individual observations to most
efficiently yield knowledge without bias
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v If all members of a population were identical, the
population is considered to be h .

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v If a sample of a population is to provide useful
information about that population, then the sample
must contain essentially the same variation as the
population.
v V
M The larger the sample needs to be to adequately describe
the populationM we need more observations to be able to
make accurate inferences.
Ä
v 
the theoretical aggregation of = elements as defined
for a given survey defined by time and space (e.g., UI students and staff in
2008).
v a
the aggregation of the population from
which the sample is actually drawn (e.g., UI students and faculty in 200809
academic year).
v a
a specific list that closely approximates all elements in the
population²from this the researcher selects units to create the study
sample (Vandal database of UI students and faculty in 200809).
v a
a set of cases that is drawn from a larger pool and used to make
generalizations about the population
2


Elements
ÿ
v a = =
M ÿow much sampling error can be tolerated²levels of precision
M Size of the population²sample size matters with small populations
M Variation within the population with respect to the characteristic of
interest²what you are investigating
M Smallest subgroup within the sample for which estimates are needed
M Sample needs to be big enough to properly estimate the smallest
subgroup
M http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm
ÿ
v 
any characteristic of a that is trueM known on
the basis of a census (e.g., % of males or females; % of college
students in a population).
v `
any characteristic of a that is estimatedM estimated
on the basis of samples (e.g., % of males or females; % of college
students in a sample). Samples have:
v a
` an estimate of precision; estimates how close
sample estimates are to a true population value for a characteristic.
M Occurs as a result of selecting a sample rather than surveying an entire population
v a
` (SE) a measure of sampling error.
v SE is an inverse function of sample size.
M As sample size , SE decreases²the sample is more precise.
M So, we want to use the smallest SE we canM greatest precision!
M Ähen in doubt²increase sample size.
v SE will be highest for a population that has a 50:50 distribution on some
characteristic of interest, while it is nonexistent with a distribution of 100:0.
s = standard error
n = sample size .9 * .1
p = % having a particular q*p S= = ..03 or 3%
characteristic (or 1q) S= 100
q = % no having a particular n
characteristic (or 1p)
.5 *.5 = .05 or 5%
S=
100
v Selection process with no pattern; unpredictable
v Each element has an equal probability of being selected for a study
v Reduces the likelihood of researcher bias
v Researcher can calculate the probability of certain outcomes
v Variety of types of probability samples²þ
=
v Äh
V
v Samples that are assigned in a random fashion are most likely to be
truly representative of the population under consideration.
v h
M A sample size µn¶ is drawn from a population µN¶ in such a way that every possible
element in the population has the same chance of being selected.
M Take a number of samples to create a
v Ä
=
þ =
aa
M Random numbers table, drawing out of a hat, random timer, etc.
v `
M You have a sampling frame (list) of 10,000 people and you need a sample of
1000 for your study«Ä
=
=
=
þ
M Every 10th person listed (1 in 10 persons)
M

aa
v h
M Divide the population by certain characteristics into homogeneous
subgroups () (e.g., UI PhD students, Masters Students,
Bachelors students).
M Elements þ
h
each strata are homogeneous, but are
heterogeneous
strata.
M A simple random or a systematic sample is taken from each strata
relative to the proportion of that stratum to each of the others.
v
h
M Ähen a stratum of interest is a small percentage of a population
and random processes could miss the stratum by chance.
M Ähen enough is known about the population that it can be easily
broken into subgroups or strata.
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v Some populations are spread out (over a state or
country).
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v [ þh
M Researchers lack a good sampling frame for a dispersed
population.
M The cost to reach an element to sample is very high.
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