Survey Sampling Tutorial

Saavy statisticians use probability samples when they conduct survey research. Probability sampling makes it possible for researchers to estimate the extent to which sample estimates reflect true population parameters.

About the Tutorial

This tutorial covers the essence of probabilty sampling clearly and simply in just a few short lessons. The tutorial focuses on five topics:

  • Prerequisites. To use probability sampling effectively, it helps to know about non-probability samples and survey bias.
  • Data collection. We look at three methods for collecting probability samples: simple random sampling, stratified sampling, and cluster sampling.
  • Analysis. It is not enough to collect data in the right way. You also need to analyze it correctly. We show how to analyze data from simple random samples, stratified samples, and cluster samples.
  • Sample planning. How to compare different data collection methods to find the optimum design (most precision, least cost).
  • Hypothesis testing. Traditionally, researchers analyze survey data to estimate population parameters. But the same techniques can be used to test hypotheses.

This tutorial is designed for students and researchers who have some familiarity with introductory statistics (e.g., a high school statistics course or Advanced Placement Statistics).

How to Use This Tutorial

Individual lessons are accessible through the table of contents, which can be found in the vertical column on the left side of the page. You should work through lessons in the order in which they appear; because some lessons build on previous lessons.

Individual lessons are accessible through the table of contents, which can be accessed by tapping the "Survey Sampling: Table of Contents" button at the top of the page. You should work through lessons in the order in which they appear; because some lessons build on previous lessons.

Additional Helpful Resources

As you progress through the tutorial, take advantage of the following helpful resources.

  • Sample size calculator. This free, online tool computes sample size, margin of error, confidence intervals, and more. To access the Sample Size Calculator, click its link in the table of contents.
  • Sample problems. Most of the lessons include sample problems. The sample problems test your knowledge. They also illustrate shortcuts and solutions to common statistics problems.
  • On-line help. Stat Trek's online Statistics Dictionary takes the mystery out of statistical jargon. If any term or concept is unclear, visit the dictionary for additional explanation.

Note: The dictionary can be accessed by clicking the Help tab in the main menu (located at the top of this web page).