Introduction

Random sampling to obtain data representative of a larger population has long been a common part of research in the social sciences. For the non-mathematician researcher, this has often meant dependence on books of sampling tables or on computing center staff. Researchers can now have greater independence thanks to the widespread availability of personal computers. This manual and the accompanying program were designed to help students and researchers in designing and carrying out studies using random sampling. This manual is divided into four parts: 1) A theoretical introduction that should be read before using the program. 2) Directions for using the program. 3) Three examples of sampling. 4) An appendix explaining how to use this program in conjunction with a computer spreadsheet.

The selection of a random sample is a two step process: first, an appropriate sample size must be selected and second, the specific subjects to be studied must be picked from the population. Before beginning these steps, we need to take a look at the general idea of sampling.

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