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# Chapter 4: Sampling Design

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## Population is a total set of people or items of interest in a research project.

Population is the entirety of the same group. The subset of population is
sample. In research, sometimes it is impossible for the researcher to study all
elements in the population. This is because the number of elements in the
population is large and the researcher has constraints of time and resources to
study all of them. Hence, the researcher needs a sample. A sample is a
portion of elements in the population selected to represent the population
under study. The finding from a sample is generalized on the whole
population. That is why the researcher needs to apply the proper sampling
technique to obtain sample so that it is a representative of a population. There
are many sampling techniques available to help researchers obtain sample
from a population.

The main reasons for studying sample instead of the whole population:

1. Cost constraint: Working with a sample does not incur much expenses
compared to working with the whole population.

2. Time constraint: Working with sample does not require longer time
compared to working with the whole population.

## 3. Manpower constraint: Working with sample does not require as many

manpower compared to working with the whole population.

## 4. The precision of measurement: The degree of precision in measuring a

sample increased because it involves dealing with a small number of
elements compared to elements of the whole population.

## 5. Process of analysis will be more systematic since the number of sample

to deal with is small.
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## 6. Saving the elements in the population if the study requires the

destruction of sample in measuring the performance.

Elements

Elements are the selected respondents or objects from the defined target
population from which the researcher will study by collecting the required data
and information.

Sampling Units

## Sampling units are the elements in the target population available to be

selected randomly during the sampling process. The researcher selects the
sample for the study from the sampling units by using an appropriate sampling
technique. The sampling technique employed would ensure representativeness
of the sample towards its population.

Sampling Frame

Sampling frame is the list of all eligible sampling units and elements in the
population from where the sample can be selected. Examples of sampling
frame are a phone directory, a list of companies selling health products, a list of
diabetic patients, a list of voters in the area, a list of houses in the district, a list
of credit card holders who apply for additional credit limit, etc. Using the
appropriate sampling technique the researcher can select the sample from this
sampling frame for the study.

## CHOOSING THE APPROPRIATE SAMPLING DESIGN

The choice of sampling design to be employed in the study depends very much
on certain factors deemed to be crucial. Among the factors that should be
considered are:

## A full understanding of the research objectives and the research questions

provides the initial guidelines for determining the appropriate sampling
design to be employed in the study. If the research objectives include the
intention to generalize the findings to the defined target population, then the
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## researcher must seriously consider using some type of probability sampling

method rather than a non-probability sampling method. This is because the
selection of sample using the probability sampling method occurs at random
and the representativeness of the sample on the population cannot be
questioned. However, if the researcher uses the non-probability sampling
method, the selection of sample is not at random (sometimes biased), and
hence the findings cannot be generalized on the whole population since the
sample itself is not a representative of a population in the first place.

## 2. Degree of Accuracy Required

Accuracy is the degree to which bias is absent from the sample. There is no
variation in measures due to any influences that causes skewness in the
distribution with an accurate sample. The degree of accuracy required or the
researcher’s tolerance for error may vary from one project to another. This is
true especially when cost constraint or other considerations may be traded
off for a reduction in accuracy.

3. Availability of Resources
If the researcher’s financial and human resources are restricted, these
limitations will most certainly eliminate the more sophisticated time-
consuming and complex probability sampling methods to be employed.
Marketing practitioners who are concerned by the cost versus the precision
of the information often choose the non-probability sampling method for their
study rather than do not conduct any study at all. This is because most of
marketing research projects is concerning the customers’ opinion, customers’
preference, and customers’ perception about certain product or service in the
market; and these types of researches do not require the measurement
which is too precise like the scientific research.

4. Time Constraint
Researchers who need to complete a project in a short time will be more
likely to select a simple, less time-consuming sampling method rather than a
more complex and accurate method. For instance, a telecommunication
company would like to introduce a new plan, which requires them to do a
research on that matter. If the study is too time-consuming, several
prospective customers might move away from the company to their
competitors. So, doing the research within the time frame, the company will

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not only keep current customers coming back but also encourage
prospective customers to buy the new plan.

## 5. Advanced Knowledge of the Target Population

In many cases, a complete list of population elements or a sampling frame is
not available to the researcher. A lack of sampling frame may automatically
rule out the use of systematic random sampling, stratified random sampling,
or any other type of probability sampling method which requires the complete
list of population elements before the sample can be selected.

## 6. Scope of the Research

The researcher needs to discuss with the manager and agree on the scope
of a research project. This is important since the scope of the research
project will influence the choice of the sampling method. Be sure of the
geographical area to be covered, the demographic characteristics of the
population, and the specific focus for the study. When the target population
elements are scattered in the unequally distributed geographical area, a
cluster sampling method may become much more suitable than other
sampling methods. Generally speaking, the broader the geographical scope
of the research project, the more extensive and complex the sampling
method becomes to ensure proper representation of the target population.

## 7. The Required Statistical Analysis

In deciding the sampling method to be used in the study, the researcher
should consider the statistical analysis techniques that will be employed to
analyze the data. The choice of sampling method that does not fulfill the
requirement for the method of analysis may land the researcher into trouble
since the analysis might be invalid. This is because certain data analysis
technique is only valid under certain condition concerning the distribution of
sample. Sometimes the researchers are using the non-probability sampling
methods to collect the data, but instead, using the statistical tests which
require the distribution of sample to be randomly and normally distributed. Of
course the results will be statistically invalid since it pre-requisite is not met.
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## Errors can be classified as either sampling error or non-sampling error. Random

sampling error can be detected by observing the difference between the sample
results and the census conducted using identical procedures. Two of the
difficulties associated with the detection of sampling errors are:

## 1. A census (study on the whole population) is seldom carried out in survey

research. Hence, there will be no basis to detect the sampling error.

2. Sampling error can be determined only after the sample is drawn and data
collection has been completed.

## What is sampling error? Sampling error is any type of bias attributed to

mistakes made by the researcher either in the sampling process or the size of
sample used. Random sampling error occurs due to some random variations in
the scientific selection of sampling units.

From the principles of the Central Limit Theorem (CLT), the degree of
sampling error and its impact can be reduced by increasing the size of sample to
be taken from its population. CLT is the theorem which states that for any target
population, the sampling distribution of the mean and proportion derived from a
random sample will be approximately normally distributed provided that the
sample size is sufficiently large. The CLT plays an important role in
understanding the concepts of sampling error, the statistical significance, and the
determination of sample size.

## Of course, it is impossible to select a sample that represents the

populations perfectly, that shows why the sampling error occurs. The lack of fit
between sample and the population is expressed as sampling error. The
sampling error is the magnitude of difference between the characteristics of a
sample and the characteristics of the population. The researcher can minimize
the amount of sampling error through the following procedure:

1. By using the appropriate sampling technique when drawing the sample from
its population.
2. By increasing the size of sample or respondents to be obtained from its
population.

## Sample size affects data quality and generalizability:

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## 1. If the researcher is using the probability-sampling plan, the sample size is

determined using either appropriate formulas or using the experience from
previous researchers.

## 2. If the researcher is using the non-probability sampling, it is up to his own

judgment since there is no specific formula.

## Determining the appropriate sample size is not an easy task. The

researcher must consider how precise the estimates must be and how much time
and money are available to collect the required data, since data collection is
generally one of the most expensive components in the study.

SIZE:

## 1. The variability of the population characteristic under investigation. The greater

the variability of the characteristic, the larger the size of the sample necessary
for that research.

2. The level of confidence desired in the estimate (CL). The higher the level of
confidence desired in the findings, the larger the sample size needed.
Confidence interval represents a statistical range of values within which the
true value of the target population parameter is expected to lie.

## 3. The degree of precision desired in estimating the population characteristic.

The more precise the result from the study required by the manager, the
larger the sample size need to be drawn from its population.

The non-sampling errors are biases that may occur in any research study
regardless of whether a sample or a census is used. These errors may occur at
any stage of the research process.

## Sampling techniques consist of two types that can be classified as probability

and non-probability sampling (See Figure 4.1). The major difference between
these two techniques is that - in the probability sampling, the sample is selected
by chance; while, in the non-probability sampling, the sample is selected based
on the personal judgment of the researcher rather than chance.
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Sampling Design

Probability Non-probability

## TYPES OF PROBABILITY SAMPLING DESIGN

Probability sampling methods are the most commonly used method because the
selection of participants is determined at random. In the probability sampling, any
element of the population has an equal chance or equal probability of being
selected as a sample. Thus the representativeness of a sample cannot be
questioned.

Probability

## Simple Random Systematic Stratified Cluster Multistage

Sampling Sampling Sampling Sampling Sampling

Proportionate Disproportionate

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## This sampling technique is applicable only if the target population is homogenous in

term of the characteristics of interest for the study. The characteristics of the study
can be in term of gender, socio-economic status, ethnic group, the culture, and the
religion of the potential respondents. This sampling procedure allows for the equal
chance for any element in the population to be selected as a sample for the study. In
other words, a probability sampling procedure ensures every sampling unit in the
target population has a known, equal, nonzero chance of being selected.

The process of simple random sampling consists of the following four steps:

## a. The definition of target population from which the researcher wants to

select a sample for research.

b. The list of all elements in the population. This list is sometimes called a
sampling frame form which the sample will be selected. For example, a
complete list of marketing students in UiTM is a sampling frame.

## c. The assignment of number to each element of the population. In this

example, the numerical list represents the member of the population
(list of marketing students).

## c) Match the random numbers obtained to the numerical list of

students and select these students as the respondents for data
collection or further research activities.

d) The respondents selected this way are totally random; hence the
problem of biasness does not arise.

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## a. It requires a sampling frame that is often not available.

b. The sampling fails to use all the information of a population that might
result a waste of the design.

## 2. The Systematic Sampling

Like simple random sampling technique, the systematic sampling technique is also
applicable for the homogenous population. In this sampling technique, the element
which falls on the kth number on the list is chosen as a respondent. This sampling
procedure fixed the increment in order to determine the following respondent, for
example, every 5th person on the list is selected as respondents.

## The process of systematic sampling consists of the following four steps:

a. Selection process

## ii Determine the required sample size (n).

iii Determine the interval (k) when k is the ratio between the size of
population and size of sample (k = N/n). For example if N = 500 and
n = 25. In this case, K = 500/25 = 20.

## b. Select one random number between 1 to k, in this

example from 1 to 20. Lets say, number 5 happens to be randomly
selected here. Then the first respondent for the study is person number 5
on the sampling frame.

## c. Then, the following respondents are K + 5, K + (K + 5),

and so on until the 20th respondent is selected since the sample size is 20.

## d. In this example, the 20 respondents would be obtained based on the

following numbers on the sampling frame:

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5 25 45 65 85
105 125 145 165 185
205 225 245 265 285
305 325 345 365 385
405 425 445 465 485

## 3. The Stratified Sampling

When the characteristic of the population under study is not homogenous, then the
researcher has to stratify them into homogenous groups. When the characteristic in
each group is homogenous, then the researcher can employ either the simple
random sampling or systematic sampling technique to randomly select the
respondents. The stratified sampling is the process of selecting a sample that
represents each stratum in a population. The researcher can stratify the
heterogeneous population into homogeneous population within a stratum in terms of
socio-economic status, ethnicity, religion, gender, marital status, type of houses, etc.

## The process of stratified sampling is:

a. Specify the strata (elements within the same strata is homogenous, and
elements between strata is heterogeneous).

## b. Assign the elements according to the strata having the similar

characteristics of interest in the study.

c. Now we can select the sample within each strata using simple random
sampling since the population is already uniform.

## d. The number of samples from each stratum must be proportionate to the

number of units in that stratum. For example, a study is to be conducted
on the investors who made their investment in the Amanah Saham
Bumiputera (ASB) in January 2008. The study wants to look specifically on
how the marital status of investors influences their investment decision in
ASB.

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## e. In this case, the population of investors is heterogeneous in terms of their

marital status (namely single, married, divorced, and widowed). Thus, the
researcher needs to stratify them according to their marital status before
the sample from each stratum can be selected. Now the investors in the
same stratum have similar characteristics. Suppose the researcher
decided to obtain 100 investors or 10% of the population of 1000 investors
as the respondents for his study.

## The stratification process is shown below:

Sample from
Whole Population in each stratum
Population each stratum
Single (10)
Total Single (100)
investors
who bought Married (400) Married (40)
the ASB unit
trust in Jan Divorced (300)
2008 is 1000 Divorced (30)
Widowed (200)
Total = 1000
Widowed (20)
Total = 1000

Total = 100

## Figure 4.3: The Stratified Sampling Process

The advantage of stratified sampling is the estimate obtained from the sample
is more accurate since it ensures all strata are represented in the sample.
The researcher also can compare whether different strata perform differently
regarding certain variable of interest.

## 4. The Cluster Sampling

Cluster sampling is the probability sampling technique applicable when the study
covers a large geographical area, the population is not homogeneous, and the
sampling frame is not available. The clusters can be the area in a residential district
(section 1, section 2, etc), the growth corridor in the country (WPI, NCER, ECER,
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etc), or the developmental region such as eastern region, northern region, central
region, and southern region.
The process of cluster sampling is:

a. First of all, the researcher needs to specify the clusters of interest within
the population. The researcher can classify certain groups into a cluster in
one geographical area.
b. For example, UiTM has campuses scattered across the country. The spread of
UiTM campuses can be classified based on the respective region namely eastern
region (Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang), northern region (Perlis, Kedah, Penang,
Perak), central region (Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya, Meru), southern region (Johor,
Melaka, Negeri Sembilan), and east Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak). In this case,
each region is a cluster and under each cluster there are a few campuses
available.
c. In the study, firstly the researcher needs to select randomly a few clusters
from the available clusters (regions). Secondly, the researcher needs to
select randomly a few campuses among the campuses available in the
selected clusters.
d. All students in the selected campuses are taken as respondents in the
study. In this case the sampling technique is applied in the selection of
clusters and in the selection of campuses within the selected clusters.
Thus, no sampling technique is applied on the respondents in the selected
campuses since all of them will be covered in the study.

## TYPES OF NON-PROBABILITY SAMPLING DESIGN

In the non-probability sampling, the element in the population does not have equal
chance of being selected as a sample. This technique is used in research where no
inference concerning the population needs to be made. This means the result of the
study is only applicable to the particular sample and does not necessarily reflect the
whole population. However, this type of sampling is very economical and easily
performed.

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Non-probability

## Convenience Judgmental Quota Sampling Snowball

Sampling Sampling Sampling

## A simple definition of convenience sampling is to obtain the sample at convenience.

Convenience sampling is a non-probability sampling procedure where the selected
sample represents the captive audience. The captive audience is a very convenient
way to generate a sample. The procedure is not random whereby the respondents
are selected because they happen to be at the right place and at the right time. For
example, the researcher goes to the supermarket at noon and obtains a few
shoppers as respondents to complete the structured questionnaire.

Convenience sampling offers the least expensive and least time consuming
compared to all sampling techniques. In addition, the sampling units are accessible,
easy to measure, and cooperative. Often, it is used in exploratory research for
generating ideas on certain phenomena, insights into certain problem, to develop
hypotheses, to pre-test questionnaires, and to conduct pilot studies.

## However, in spite of these advantages, convenience sampling also has serious

limitations. The limitations of convenience sampling can be stated as follows:

## a. It may pose the potential sources of selection bias including self-selection

respondents. Hence, the data obtained is not randomly distributed.

## b. The sample is not representative of a population and theoretically cannot be

generalized to any population of interest.

c. The sampling process is not appropriate for population inferences, and the
technique is not recommended for descriptive and causal research.
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## Judgmental sampling is another non-probability sampling technique in which the

respondents are selected based on the judgment of the researcher that they have
the required characteristics to be included in the study. In this technique, the
researcher selects respondents that meet the specified criteria for the study. For
example, a cosmetic manufacturer selects respondents from the female artists since
they believe that all female artists are consuming cosmetic products. Another
example, ASTRO selects teenagers who posses certain characteristics as
respondents in order to obtain their feedback concerning the Akademi Fantasia (AF)
program. In this case, the management of ASTRO believes that these particular
teenagers are the most likely viewers of AF programs.

## Quota sampling is also a non-probability sampling technique which is similar to the

stratified sampling in that a particular stratum is the focus of the study. The purpose
of quota is to ensure that various subgroups in a population possessing different
characteristics are represented in the sample. This technique selects respondents
possessing certain characteristics of interest by the researcher. The characteristics
of respondents to be selected are pre-determined by the researcher himself such as
students from urban areas and the students from rural areas. Another example of
characteristics of interest is employment status such as government staff, staff of
private firms, professionals, self-employed, etc.

Example 4.1:

Suppose a firm wishes to investigate consumers who own digital versatile disc
(DVD) players in their home. Since different brands of DVD pose different
characteristics, the researcher may wish to ensure that each brand of DVD is
included in the sample. In a quota sampling, the researcher determines the number
of respondents (quota) to obtain for each DVD brands. For example, a researcher
may choose 100 respondents to interview. The respondents must consist of
customers using the following DVD brand, 40 Sony, 30 Samsung, 20 Toshiba, and
10 of other brands.

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## 4. The Snowball Sampling

In the snowball sampling, firstly the researcher selects one respondent who
fulfills certain characteristics for the study. After obtaining the required data
from the first respondent, the researcher asks this particular respondent to
locate his friends who possess the same characteristics. The second
respondent will also help the researcher to locate the next respondent.
Snowball sampling is typically used in research situation where:

a) The defined target population is very small and the characteristic of the
population is unique.

## b) Compiling the complete list of sampling units is nearly an impossible task.

For example, the research project is to study the success story of single
mother in the direct-selling business. First of all, the researcher needs to find
the first respondent, the single mother doing direct-selling business. After
obtaining the required data (through personal interview or structured
questionnaire) from this respondent, the researcher would ask that
respondent to locate her friends who possess the same characteristics. The
researcher would stop once he has obtained enough number of respondents
required for the study.

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Exercises

True-False Questions
STATEMENT TRUE FALSE
A list containing elements in a target population is known as a
1.
sampling frame.
A sample is any subgroup of a population selected for
2.
participation in a study.
A stratified sampling is usually the most efficient sampling
3.
technique in a statistical sense.
A sampling unit is the object in the population from which
4.
information is desired.
Resource constraints should not be used in determining sample
5.
sizes for research project.
6. Systematic sampling does not require a sampling frame.
7. Quota sampling does not guarantee representativeness.
A census involve the complete enumeration of all of the
8.
elements of a population.
The sampling system consists of a list of directions for
9.
identifying the target population.
A census can increase non-sampling error to the point that
10.
these errors exceed the sampling errors in a sample.

## a. Determine the sampling frame

b. Define the population of interest
c. Define the problem statement
d. Determine the sample size

a. Population
b. Census
c. Sample
d. Sampling unit

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Chapter 4: Sampling Design

a. Quota
b. Sample
c. Census
d. Panel

a. Sample
b. Quota
c. Population
d. Census

## a. The sampling frame

b. The sampling element
c. The target population
d. The sampling unit

## 6. A census should be chosen in favour of a sample when the population size is

__________, the sampling error is ___________, and the research budget is
__________.

## a. Small; high; large

b. Small; low; large
c. Large; high; large
d. Large; low; small

7. Among the factors that the researcher should consider when determining the
sample size for his research is:

## a. The number of variables

b. Random error
c. Sampling error
d. All of the above are true.

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8. A good sample is the one in which there is no bias from the sampling process.
This is defined as _____________.

a. Precision
b. Consistency
c. Accuracy
d. Random

## 9. When a researcher chooses a segment of the population that represents the

population as a whole, he has chosen a ______________.

a. Group
b. Bi-variant population
c. Sample
d. Market

## 10. The number of elements to be included in a research study is called:

a. Sampling frame
b. Population
c. Sample size
d. Sampling unit

11. When the sampling error cannot be calculated due to the method used to
select the sample, the researcher has just used a (n) _______________.

## a. Sampling unit sample

b. Inverted sample
c. Probability sample
d. Non-probability sample

12. A researcher begins by selecting one customer from the list of 1300
customers, and then continues the process by selecting every 30th customer
on the list is using a ______________.

## a. Simple random sampling

b. Systematic sampling
c. Stratified random sampling
d. Judgement sampling

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## 13. A researcher gives instructions to select a sample consisting of 90 people

under the age of 30 years, and 60 people over the age of 30 years because
that is the proportion of people with that characteristics in the population.
This is an example of a ________ sample.

a. Judgement sampling
b. Quota sampling
c. Proportional stratified sampling
d. Snowball sampling

## 14. Using internet sample for the survey is an example of:

a. Quota sample
b. Convenience sample
c. Judgement sample
d. Snowball sample

15. What type of sampling is suitable when there are great variations among the
sub-groups in the population?

a. Stratified sampling
b. Cluster sampling
c. Systematic sampling
d. Simple random sampling

16. Which of the following techniques is typically the least expensive and least
time consuming?

a. Simple random
b. Convenience
c. Stratified
d. Cluster

## 17. Which of the following is not a probability sample?

a. Systematic sampling
b. Proportional stratified sampling
c. Disproportionate stratified sampling
d. Quota sampling

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Essay Question

## 1. A university is planning to subsidize the expansion of its students’ recreational

centre through a special RM 24.00 annual fee to be paid by each student for
the next 4 years. Since the project will take 2 years to complete, the students
who are currently in the third and fourth year will not benefit from the
expansion. The survey committee believes that the opinions of students are
likely to depend on their current class status. There are currently 4000 first
year students, 3200 second year students, 2800 third year students and 2000
fourth year students enrolled in the university. The sample will contain 300
students and the size of the sample from each group is to be proportional to
the size of the particular sub-population.

## a. How many first year students should be included in the sample?

b. What is the probability sampling method that is appropriate for the above

c. Assuming that the list of 2800 third year students is obtained from the
registrar office, the numerical list of names is between 1 and 2800. Using
the table of random numbers below, explain the procedure you would
follow to select six samples from the list.

## 9156 7425 6535 2478 2810 1795

1795 5563 9527 5830 1290 4650
4650 3185 4990 9949 2533 2020
9215 7986 8418 4596 1457 7547
1457 7627 3494 0008 0739 6679

## d. The committee wants 70 students in the sample. Instead of using a table

of random numbers, state another method of drawing the random sample.

## e. What method of data collection should be used? State your reason(s).

2. a. Give two main reasons for using cluster sampling over simple random
sampling.

b. What are the main reasons for using a sample rather than a census?

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Chapter 4: Sampling Design

c. The 5 year old Shah Alam housing directory lists the residents’ names
alphabetically together with their addresses. TNB wishes to conduct a
research on the perception of Shah Alam’s residents towards the
campaign on using Solar Panel for house use. For the above situation:

## i. State the required sampling frame.

ii. What problems could arise by using this frame?
iii. How can these problems be solved during the fieldwork?
iv. In using the directory, which probability sampling is appropriate for
the above study? State your reason(s).

## 3. Explain the differences between stratified random sampling and cluster

sampling by discussing the sample selection methods for each technique.
Give one example for each type of sampling.

## 4. Describe the differences between a probability sample and a non-probability

sample. Give two examples of each type of sample.

## 5. What are the advantages of:

a. Convenience sampling
b. Judgmental sampling
c. Snowball sampling

## 7. a) Suppose that a survey is to be taken on shoppers at a large shopping mall.

For each of the following, indicate the type of sampling technique that can
be employed. A questionnaire is administered to:

## i) A random sample of customers at each entrance to the mall.

ii) Every sixteen customer who enters the mall.
iii) All customers that enter a set of randomly selected stores in a 15-
minute period during the day.
iv) Customer who enter any bookstore outlet at the mall.

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Chapter 4: Sampling Design

## 8. You are requested to conduct a survey and choose an appropriate

communication method to find out students’ feelings and opinions about the
various food services available on the campus. A survey instrument was
developed for the purpose of gathering the information.

survey method.

## b) What would be a suitable method of communication to capture large

c) What are the classifications of non-sampling errors that could arise from
the study?

## 9. What is a cluster sampling? By giving example, describe briefly how would

you draw a sample from a known population using a cluster sampling?

10. A prominent bank located in Kuala Lumpur has some 400,000 users of its
credit cards scattered throughout Malaysia. The application forms for the
level of education and so on that is typical of such applications. The bank is
currently interested in determining if there is any directional relationship
between the frequency of card usage and the amount of credit charged on the
card for various purchases made within a month, i.e. the more frequent the
card is used, the higher is the credit amount charged on the card.

a) Identify the sampling frame that would be used by the bank to conduct the
investigation. How is the sampling frame acquired?

b) Choose a suitable sampling technique and indicate how you would draw a
sample from the target population using the sampling technique chosen.

c) Determine and describe the appropriate data collecting method for the