Essay about Sampling

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Carrying out a survey of every single potential consumer (known as population) of a firm's product would be impractical, time-consuming and costly. Businesses still, however, need to collect enough primary data to have a clear idea of the views of consumers. This can be done by taking a sample of the population. This sample group should be made up of consumers that are representative of all potential buyers of the product. There are a number of ways in which a sample can be chosen.

Random Sampling

This method gives each member of a group an equal chance of being chosen. In other words, the sample is selected at random, rather like picking numbers out of a hat. Today computers can
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So, if the business was interested in how 'class' affected consumers' demand for a food product, it might divide the population up into different class groups, such as working class males, middle class females etc. A random sample could then be chosen from each of these groups by making sure that they were the same proportions of the sample in each category as in population as a whole. So if the population had 10 per cent upper class males, so would the sample.

Quota Sampling

This sampling method involves the population being segmented into a number of groups which share specific characteristics. These may be based on the age and the sex of the population. Interviewers are then given targets for the number of people out of each segment who they must interview. For example, and interviewer may be asked to interview 10 males between the ages of 18 and 25, or 15 females between the ages of 45 and 60. Once the target is reached, no more people from that group are interviewed. The advantage of this sampling method is that it can be cheaper to operate than many of the others. It is also useful where the proportions of the different groups within the population are known. However, results from quota sampling are not statistically representative of the population and are not randomly chosen. They must therefore be treated with caution.

Cluster Sampling

This involves

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