Friday, January 15, 2010

How does one decide which type of sampling to use?

The formulas in almost all statistics books assume simple random sampling. Unless you are willing to learn the more complex techniques to analyze the data after it is collected, it is appropriate to use simple random sampling. To learn the appropriate formulas for the more complex sampling schemes, look for a book or course on sampling.

Stratified random sampling gives more precise information than simple random sampling for a given sample size. So, if information on all members of the population is available that divides them into strata that seem relevant, stratified sampling will usually be used.

If the population is large and enough resources are available, usually one will use multi-stage sampling. In such situations, usually stratified sampling will be done at some stages.