Sampling is a familiar part of daily life. A customer in a bookstore picks up a book, looks at the cover, and skims a few pages to get a sense of the writing style and content before deciding whether to buy. A high school student visits a college classroom to listen to a professor’s lecture. Selecting a university on the basis of one classroom visit may not be scientific sampling, but in a personal situation, it may be a practical sampling experience. When measuring every item in a population is impossible, inconvenient, or too expensive, we intuitively take a sample. Although sampling is commonplace in daily activities, these familiar samples are seldom scientific. For researchers, the process of sampling can be quite complex. Sampling is a central aspect of business research, requiring in-depth examination. This chapter explains the nature of sampling and ways to determine the appropriate sample design.
* Sampling Terminologies:
1. Sample: A sample is a subset, or some part, of a larger population
2. A population (universe): is any complete group—for example, of people, sales territories, stores, or college students—that shares some common set of characteristics.
3. The term population element refers to an individual member of the population.
4. A census is an investigation of all the individual elements that make up the population—a total enumeration rather than a sample.
* Why sampling:
1. Pragmatic Reasons:
Applied business research projects usually have budget and time constraints. If Ford Motor Corporation wished to take a census of past purchasers’ reactions to the company’s recalls of defective models, the researchers would have to contact millions of automobile buyers. Some of them would be inaccessible (for example, out of the country), and it would be impossible to contact all these people within a short time period. A researcher who wants to investigate a population with an extremely small number of population elements may elect to conduct a census rather than a sample because the cost, labor, and time drawbacks would be relatively insignificant. For a company that wants to assess salespersons’ satisfaction with its computer networking system, circulating a questionnaire to all 25 of its employees is practical. In most situations, however, many practical reasons favor sampling. Sampling cuts costs, reduces labor requirements, and gathers vital information quickly. These advantages may be sufficient in themselves for using a sample rather than a census, but there are other reasons.
2. Accurate and Reliable results
A sample may on occasion be more accurate than a census. Interviewer mistakes, tabulation errors, and other nonsampling errors may increase during a census because of the increased volume of work. In a sample, increased accuracy may sometimes be possible because the fieldwork and tabulation of data can be more closely supervised. In a field survey, a small, well-trained, closely supervised group may do a more careful and accurate job of collecting information than a large group of nonprofessional interviewers who try to contact everyone. An interesting case in point is the use of samples by the Bureau of the Census to check the accuracy of the U.S. Census. If the sample indicates a possible source of error, the census is redone.
3. Destruction of Unit test
Many research projects, especially those in quality-control testing, require the destruction of the items being tested. If a manufacturer of firecrackers wished to find out whether each unit met a specific production standard, no product would be left after the testing. This is the exact situation in many research strategy experiments. For example, if an experimental sales presentation were presented to every potential customer, no prospects would remain to be contacted after the experiment. In other words, if there is a finite population and everyone in the population participates in the...
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