Summary

This chapter has introduced the idea of sampling, contrasting it with a census. The key elements involved in devising a sampling plan have been discussed and the importance of properly defining the target population of interest has been emphasised. Illustrations of the important features of both probability and non-probability samples have been given and the major types and primary practical uses of both probability and non-probability sampling have been outlined. The primary approaches for determining sample size have been discussed and the concept of sampling and non-sampling error has been considered. The nature of the factors contributing to response and non-response errors has been described and suggestions made as to how response rates can be improved and non-response errors minimised. Particular attention has been given to sampling methods that are most appropriate for small populations. Attention has also been paid to the management of the sampling process and the determination of sample size.

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