There may often be factors which divide up the population into sub-populations (groups / strata) and we may expect the measurement of interest to vary among the different sub-populations. This has to be accounted for when we select a sample from the population in order that we obtain a sample that is representative of the population. This is achieved by stratified sampling.
A stratified sample is obtained by taking samples from each stratum or sub-group of a population.
When we sample a population with several strata, we generally require that the proportion of each stratum in the sample should be the same as in the population.
Stratified sampling techniques are generally used when the population is heterogeneous, or dissimilar, where certain homogeneous, or similar, sub-populations can be isolated (strata). Simple random sampling is most appropriate when the entire population from which the sample is taken is homogeneous. Some reasons for using stratified sampling over simple random sampling are :
a) the cost per observation in the survey may be reduced;
b) estimates of the population parameters may be wanted for each sub-population;
c) increased accuracy at given cost.
Suppose a farmer wishes to work out the average milk yield of each cow type in his herd which consists of Ayrshire, Friesian, Galloway and Jersey cows. He could divide up his herd into the four sub-groups and take samples from these.
Quota sampling is a method of sampling widely used in opinion polling and market research. Interviewers are each given a quota of subjects of specified type to attempt to recruit for example, an interviewer might be told to go out and select 20 adult men and 20 adult women, 10 teenage girls and 10 teenage boys so that they could interview them about their television viewing.
It suffers from a number of methodological flaws, the most basic of which is that the sample is not a random sample and therefore the sampling distributions of any statistics are unknown