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What are the advantages of using a stratified random sample?
- The aim of the stratified random sample is to reduce the potential for human bias in the selection of cases to be included in the sample. As a result, the stratified random sample provides us with a sample that is highly representative of the population being studied, assuming that there is limited missing data.
- Since the units selected for inclusion within the sample are chosen using probabilistic methods, stratified random sampling allows us to make statistical conclusions from the data collected that will be considered to be valid.
- Relative to the simple random sample, the selection of units using a stratified procedure can be viewed as superior because it improves the potential for the units to be more evenly spread over the population. Furthermore, where the samples are the same size, a stratified random sample can provide greater precision than a simple random sample. Because of the greater precision of a stratified random sample compared with a simple random sample, it may be possible to use a smaller sample, which saves time and money.
- The stratified random sample also improves the representation of particular strata (groups) within the population, as well as ensuring that these strata are not over-represented. Together, this helps the researcher to compare strata, as well as make more valid inferences from the sample to the population.