1.15: Cluster Sampling Method
Appropriate sampling methods ensure that samples are drawn without bias and accurately represent the population. Because measuring the entire population in a study is not practical, researchers use samples to represent the population of interest.
To choose a cluster sample, divide the population into clusters (groups) and then randomly select some of the clusters. All the members from these clusters are in the cluster sample. For example, if you randomly sample four departments from your college population, the four departments make up the cluster sample. Divide your college faculty by department. The departments are the clusters. Number each department, and then choose four different numbers using simple random sampling. All members of the four departments with those numbers are the cluster sample.
The cluster sampling method is cost-effective and saves time. For example, to study the rural communities, the state is divided into clusters. Now, instead of visiting all the locations, a random cluster is picked and studied, saving both money and time. However, cluster samples contain more sampling errors as they might not fully represent the entire population.
This text is adapted from Openstax, Introductory Statistics, Section 1.2 Data, Sampling, and Variation in Data and Sampling