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Random sampling refers to a variety of selection techniques in which sample members are selected by chance, but with a known probability of selection. Most social science, business, and agricultural surveys rely on random sampling techniques for the selection of survey participants or sample units, where the sample units may be persons, establishments, land points, or other units for analysis. Random sampling is a critical element to the overall survey research design.

This entry first addresses some terminological considerations. Second, it discusses two main components of random sampling: randomness and known probabilities of selection. Third, it briefly describes specific types of random samples, including simple random sampling (with and without replacement), systematic sampling, and stratification, with mention of other complex designs. The final section touches on ...

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