Sampling is the first step in research and data collection. How you choose your research or survey sample seriously affects the quality and results of your research.
In this blog post, we’ll learn all about simple random sampling. We'll dive into the core principles of simple random sampling and uncover what makes it such a valuable tool in data collection. Then, we’ll give you the step-by-step method for using the random sampling method to choose a sample for your next research or survey.
Understanding the simple random sampling method
Let's understand in detail what simple random sampling is.
What is the simple random sampling technique?
The two main methods by which researchers draw out smaller samples from a larger population are probability and non-probability sampling. Simple random sampling is a type of probability sampling technique.
In this sampling method, each member of a population has an equal chance of being selected for the sample. One defining characteristic of this method is that it’s fair and unbiased.
Compared to other random sampling methods like stratified sampling, which divides the group into smaller parts, or systematic sampling, which picks things at regular intervals, simple random sampling treats the whole group as one.
The two types of simple random sampling
There are two ways of using simple random sampling in research:
- Simple random sampling with replacement: In this method, after an item is selected from the population, it’s returned to the population before the following selection. This means an item can be chosen more than once during the sampling process. This type of sampling is often used when studying small populations.
- Simple random sampling without replacement: Here, once an item is selected, it’s not put back into the population. This ensures that each chosen item is unique in the sample. This type is commonly used in larger populations when researchers want a non-repetitive, unbiased sample.
Pros and cons of simple random sampling
There are pros to using simple random sampling in your research:
- Representativeness: Each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected, making the sample representative of the entire population.
- Unbiased: Simple random sampling reduces the risk of bias, as every element has an equal opportunity to be included.
- Simplicity: It’s easy to understand and implement, making it suitable for various research settings.
However, this method of sampling can have some cons, too, like:
- Resource-Intensive: It can be inefficient for large populations, as it requires a complete list of all elements and can be time-consuming.
- Potential for variability: Due to its randomness, there's a chance the sample may not perfectly represent the population.
- Not ideal for a diverse sample pool: Where the population is homogeneous, other sampling methods may be more efficient in capturing diversity.
How to use the simple random sampling method
Here are the steps to using simple random sampling to select a sample for your research.
Step 1: Decide on your population
You must clearly define your target population. A population is the entire group or collection of individuals, items, or data points your study aims to investigate. It’s the group to whom the survey or research results will apply.
For instance, if you're surveying the job satisfaction of employees in a company, your population would be all the employees working there.
Step 2: Decide on a sample size
Once you've decided on your target population, the next task is determining the appropriate sample size. This step involves choosing the number of individuals or elements you will include in your sample from the larger population.
Selecting an optimal sample size is a delicate balance. A larger sample provides more precise results but may be more resource and time-consuming. On the other hand, a smaller sample can be more efficient but may give you less accurate results.
Consider factors like your research objectives, available resources, and desired confidence level. Then, you can manually apply the sample size formula or even rely on free sample size calculators online.
Step 3a: Select sample with the lottery method
Now, you have to select the sample. One way of doing this is through the lottery method. Assign a token to each item of the population. This doesn't have to be complicated at all.
You can put names on slips of paper and then collect them in a bowl. Then, draw from the bowl manually to select your sample. This method is better suited when the population and sample size required are both small.
Step 3b: Select sample with the random number method
Another way to perform simple random sampling is with the random number method. To do this, assign a unique number to each element in your population. Then, you have to generate random numbers within the same range as your population size.
You can do this by using free random number generators online. Simply set the minimum and maximum ranges and hit generate to get a new element for your sample. Continue this process until you've chosen the required sample size.
Step 4: Collect data from your sample
Now that you’ve selected your sample, it’s time to start data collection and, finally, data analysis. These are the most exhaustive phases of a survey or research. Using tools can make data collection and analysis easier.
Data comes in two types: quantitative and qualitative. If you’re primarily collecting quantitative data, you’ll be dealing with many numbers and statistics. A tool like Advanced Summary can help you generate meaningful insights from it if you’re using Google Forms.
If your research is more focused on qualitative data, you’ll need a tool that helps you organize and save your response documents properly. This is where Form Publisher excels!
Learn more about research on the Form Publisher blog
You now know what simple random sampling is! It’s time to put that knowledge to practice and start collecting data. While you’re at it, check out some data collection tools.
Form Publisher is an add-on that can instantly turn your Google Forms responses into individual and customized documents. You can also create an approval workflow and do much more with Form Publisher.
If you’re starting research or a survey and want to learn more about data, research analysis, or methodologies, why not head to the Form Publisher blog? You’re sure to find something useful!