SURV636: Sampling II

Data Generating Process

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Instructor: Raphael Nishimura

Sampling II presents different applications of the methods and techniques covered in the Sampling I course. This is also an applied statistics methods course concerned almost exclusively with the design of data collection rather than data analysis. The course will concentrate on sampling applications to human populations, since this 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…

  • be able to design and implement large-scale statewide or national samples using multi-stage sampling with different sampling techniques
  • understand the principles of telephone sampling and be able to design and select telephone samples
  • understand issues related with multiple frame designs and use them in settings such as telephone sampling
  • understand multiphase design and be able to implement it in various survey context

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 in the weekly discussion forum (Thursday, 9:00 AM ET / 3:00 PM CET) demonstrating understanding of the required readings and video lectures, and positive contributions on the Discussion Forum, see below (10% of grade)
  • A final open-book online exam (25% of grade)

Homework assignments

The homework assignments will involve small-scale, sample design problems that will require you to identify and apply the methods and techniques covered in the lectures and assigned readings. The questions will require mathematical calculations and you will be asked to select samples using different sampling schemes. Although some examples of statistical software will be provided, none of the homework problems will require their use, and the assignments should preferably be solved by hand, with a calculator, or in a spreadsheet, so that you can have a more robust understanding of the concepts being applied in these exercises. Use the homework assignments as an indicator of your progress in this course.

Homework solutions should be submitted electronically via the course web site Assignment tool as an attachment. You must submit solutions, handwritten or typed, in a single PDF format file, with name and homework set number at the top of the first page, and page numbers at the bottom of each page. Handwritten versions must be fully legible: if the instructor cannot read the homework it will be returned ungraded. Files must be submitted in a standard name convention: ‘Surname First Initial HW#.pdf’. For example, 'Nishimura R HW1.pdf'. Homework problems will be graded on a 100-point scale. The submitted homework will be marked electronically and returned via the Assignment tool, along with a copy of the homework solution.

Homework assignments are due the Tuesday after the online meeting (see schedule syllabus below). Late homework will not be accepted, except in case of emergencies, which should be reported to the instructor in advance through a request made in writing by email no less than 24 hours before the homework is due, and a reason must be given for the need to submit late. Late homework submission permission is not guaranteed.

Study groups are encouraged. However, group answers are not acceptable and each student must submit individual homework solutions. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions on Piazza about the homework assignments, but you should not request for or provide entire solutions. If this behavior is detected, there will be a 50% penalty on your grade for that assignment.


During the first five minutes of each class session, there will be a closed book, closed notes quiz with three to five multiple choice questions about the assigned readings for that week (see textbooks and assigned readings and syllabus schedule). The questions will not involve any mathematical calculation and will assess the student’s understanding of some the basic concepts and ideas of the content covered on the assigned readings, which will not necessarily be covered in the lectures. The students are encouraged to ask questions on Piazza about the assigned readings. There will be no make-up quizzes, but we will drop the two lowest quiz scores before calculating the final grade.

Class participation

In preparation for the weekly online meetings, students are expected to watch the lecture videos and read the assigned literature before the start of the meeting. Please be prepared to contribute to the class discussion: everyone is expected to contribute. In addition, students are encouraged to post questions about the materials covered in the videos and readings of the week in the weekly discussion forum before the meetings (deadline for posting questions in the discussion forum is Thursday, 9:00 AM ET / 3:00 PM CET).

Participation through the discussion forum, either by asking or answering questions, is encouraged and positive contributions will be rewarded on your final grade. However, you should not request for or provide entire homework solutions. If this behavior is detected, there will be a 50% penalty on your grade for that assignment.

Final open-book exam

The final cumulative, open-book, take-home exam will be available on the course website from May 6, 1 PM EDT/ 7PM CEST to May 13, 1 PM EDT / 7 PM CEST. Students will have 48 hours to complete it starting from the time the exam is opened on the course website. The solution of the exam should be uploaded to the course. If the student is unable to take the exam on the scheduled week due to prior commitments, they should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make special arrangements.


SURV 626 – Sampling I or equivalent course is required. Some experience with the R statistical computing software is helpful.


Valliant, R., Dever, J.A., and Kreuter, F. (2018). Practical Tools for Designing and Weighting Survey Samples, 2nd Edition. New York: Springer.

Weekly online meetings & assignments:

  • Week 1: Multi-Stage Sampling (Assignment 1) 
  • Week 2: Area Probability Sampling & Gridded Population Sampling (Assignment 2)
  • Week 3: Telephone Sampling & Multiple Frame Sampling (Assignment 3)
  • Week 4: Sample Size Calculation & Power Computation (Assignment 4)
  • Final exam 

Course Dates


Spring Semester (January – May)