Training Educators to Design and Develop ODL Materials/Needs Analysis/MULTI-STAGE SAMPLING

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Multi-stage sampling is like cluster sampling, but involves selecting a sample within each chosen cluster, rather than including all units in the cluster. Thus, multi-stage sampling involves selecting a sample in at least two stages. In the first stage, large groups or clusters are selected. These clusters are designed to contain more population units than are required for the final sample.

In the second stage, population units are chosen from selected clusters to derive a final sample. If more than two stages are used, the process of choosing population units within clusters continues until the final sample is achieved.

An example of multi-stage sampling is where, firstly, electoral sub-divisions (clusters) are sampled from a city or state. Secondly, blocks of houses are selected from within the electoral sub-divisions and, thirdly, individual houses are selected from within the selected blocks of houses.

The advantages of multi-stage sampling are convenience, economy and efficiency. Multi-stage sampling does not require a complete list of members in the target population, which greatly reduces sample preparation cost. The list of members is required only for those clusters used in the final stage. The main disadvantage of multi-stage sampling is the same as for cluster sampling: lower accuracy due to higher sampling error (see section Information - Problems with Using).