Systematic sampling

In the systematic sampling method, the sampling units are chosen from the sampling frame at a uniform interval at a specified rate. For example, we might use the residential telephone directory. Perhaps the book has 400 pages in it, with an average, after a check of perhaps ten widely dispersed pages, of 400 listings per page, for an estimated total of 160,000 listings (400 x 400). The particular study requires a list of 2000 for sampling purposes. (For simplicity at this point, we forget the number of completions required.) This means that every 80th listing (160,000/2000) should be drawn.

So that the method is a true probability method, where every sampling unit has an equal chance of coming into the sample, there also must be a random starting point. So if we are using every 80th listing, we must select a random starting number of between 1 and 79.

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