Encyclopedia Entry

Sampling Interval

Trent D. Buskirk

When a probability sample is selected through use of a systematic random sampling design, a random start is chosen from a collection of consecutive integers that will ensure an adequate sample size is obtained. The length of the string of consecutive integers is commonly referred to as the sampling interval . If the size of the population or universe is N and n is the size of the sample, then the integer that is at least as large as the number N/n is called the sampling interval (often denoted by k ). Used in conjunction with systematic sampling, the sampling interval partitions the universe into n zones, or strata, each consisting of k units. In general, systematic sampling is operationalized by selecting a random start between 1 and the sampling interval. This random start, r, and every subsequent fcth integer would then be included in the sample (i.e. r , ...

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