SURV626: Sampling I

Data Generating Process

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Instructor: Raphael Nishimura

Sampling is an applied statistics methods course, but differs from most statistics courses because it is concerned almost exclusively with the design of data collection. Little of the analysis of collected data will be discussed in the course. The course will concentrate on problems of applying sampling methods to human populations, since sampling human populations poses a number of particular problems not found in sampling of other types of units. The principles of sample selection, though, can be applied to many other types of populations.

Course objectives: 

By the end of the course, students will…

  • understand the basic ideas, concepts and principles of probability sampling from an applied perspective
  • be able to identify and appropriately apply sampling techniques to survey design problems
  • be able to compute the sample size for a variety of sample designs
  • understand and be able to assess the impact of the sample design on survey estimates
  • be able to estimate the precision of the survey statistics using different estimation techniques

Grading will be based on:

  • Homework assignments (50% of the grade)
  • Quizzes (15% of the grade)
  • Participation in discussion during the weekly online meetings, submission of questions demonstrating understanding of the required readings and video lectures and positive contributions on Piazza (10% of grade)
  • A final open-book online exam (25% of grade)

The course is presented at an intermediate statistical level. While we will not develop mathematical aspects of sampling theory, statistical notation and outlines of some algebraic proofs will be given. A sound background in applied statistics, proficiency in mathematics, including basic algebra, is necessary, since some algebraic derivations will be presented (although little emphasis will be placed on the derivations). A thorough understanding of the notation and algebraic results will be required.


Survey Sampling by Leslie Kish (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1965).

Weekly online meetings & assignments:

  • Week 1: Introduction; Course Perspectives (Quiz 1, Assignment 1)
  • Week 2: Simple Random Sampling, Sampling Frames, and Introduction to Clustering (Quiz 2, Assignment 2)
  • Week 3: Stratified Sampling I (Quiz 3, Assignment 3)
  • Week 4: Stratified Sampling II, Systematic selection (Quiz 4, Assignment 4) 
  • Week 5: Cluster Sampling (Quiz 5, Assignment 5) 
  • Week 6: Unequal-Sized Clusters I (Quiz 6, Assignment 6) 
  • Week 7: Unequal-Sized Clusters II (Quiz 7, Assignment 7) 
  • Week 8: Variance Estimation (Quiz 8, Assignment 8)
  • Final exam 

If you want to dive even deeper into these topics, we recommend to sign up for the follow-up course SURV636 Sampling II.

Course Dates


Fall Semester (September – December)


Fall Semester (September – December)


Fall Semester (September – December)