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Sampling Theory

The main aim to explain the basic principles and techniques employed in sampling. Sampling in social science as a careful procedure is relatively new. The U.S Bureau of the census used it first in 1940. Prior to that recorded instances are relatively few in number. After 1920sampling began to develop systematically and much of the growth was in agricultural field rather than in social research. In recent years, sampling has become an essential part of research procedure that every sociologist is required to be familiar wit its logic and some of its important techniques.

Any research involves the definition of problems for study, and the derivation or testing of hypotheses about these problems based on data collected and analyzed by acceptable research methods. After selecting the problem of the study, the area of study has to be delimited and specified.

There  are two ways through which required information can be obtained:
1.    Census Method
2.    Sampling Method

In the census method there is complete enumeration of all the relevant data. Each and every unit in the Universe is contacted. The unit of enquiry may be a person, a household, a shop, a factory and so on. From an ideal point of view, a study of all the units would be preferable because no unit is left our and hence greater accuracy is ensured. For example it average height of the students of Rajasthan University in Jaipur has to be obtained, and then all the students in different colleges would be included, their height measured and then the average height would be calculated.

Broadly speaking universe can be of two types-finite and infinite. A finite universe is one in which the number of items is determinable such as the number of students in Delhi University, Agra University or Rajasthan University. An infinite universe is that in which the umber of items cannot be determined such as number of stars in the sky or number of leaves on a tree.

But in practice it may be difficult and impractical to include all the units. The units may be scattered over a large area, making it difficult more effort, time and money. In social research time and cost are important factors. Complete enumeration may become prohibitive and the very idea of collecting information may be dropped. Further more , analysis of each and every item would be slow and tedious. It is more economical in time, money and effort to get information from some of the units rather than form all of them. For practical purposes, conclusions drawn form a sample can be just as valued as conclusions drown form the analysis of the entire universe of Cases.

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