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Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (development)

Introduction to Survey Sampling

Date: 11 November 2015
Time: 9.30am - 4.45pm
Instructor: Pamela Campanelli
Level: Introductory
Fee: £195 (£140 for those from educational and charitable institutions). 
The Cathie Marsh Institute (CMIST) offers five free places to research staff and students within the Faculty of Humanities at The University of Manchester and the North West Doctoral Training Centre. 
Postgraduate students requesting a free place will be required to provide a letter of support from their supervisor.


This course introduces participants to what survey sampling is, why it is important, and how it is implemented. It focuses on the practical aspects as well as some of the technical details. There are four topics covered in the course:

The course covers:

  • Types of samples (probability versus non-probability)
  • How to construct a ‘sampling frame’
  • Types of probability samples (e.g., simple random, systematic, stratified, multi-stage clustered, unequal probabilities of selection).
  • What ‘sampling error’ is
  • The role of sampling error in confidence intervals
  • How to determine sample size
  • A brief overview of design effects and weighting

If possible, please bring a calculator with a square root function.


By the end of the workshop delegates will:

  • Understand how to design a survey sample based on a given research question
  • Determine the size of sample to be used
  • Understand confidence intervals for means and proportions and how these are affected by sampling strategies
  • Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of different sampling strategies


Although there is no prerequisite for this course, participants will benefit from having had a statistics course in the past.

Recommended reading

De Vaus, D. (2002) Surveys in Social Research, 5th ed., London: Routledge (Social research today) Ch 6 ‘Finding a sample’

About the instructor