Chapter

Sampling Error

in The Total Survey Error Approach

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780226891279
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226891293 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226891293.003.0010
Sampling Error

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The best-known source of survey error is sampling error: the error that arises when only a subset of the population is included in a sample survey. It occurs since sampled units inevitably differ from the full population. Even when interviewing a sample, the survey researcher normally wishes to be able to generalize beyond the people who were sampled, sometimes even to people in other locations and at other time points. That is possible only when the sample is representative of the larger population of interest. Understanding the issues involved in sampling requires beginning with a review of the theory of sampling error. The second section of this chapter presents a wide variety of sampling methods, both probability methods underlain by elegant mathematical theory and nonprobability methods that many researchers still choose because of practical considerations. Issues involved in selecting a sample size are then discussed in the third section.

Keywords: sampling error; locations; sample size; time points; nonprobability methods

Chapter.  13636 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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