Census and sample survey essentially relates to the statistical collection of data across various areas and sectors pertaining to the particular subject-matter or enquiry. These data collection exercises are undertaken on a cross-section of a targeted population.
The information that is derived from the study of a population can be subsequently used for various purposes.
Let us discuss the census and sampling.
The process used in the census method includes the statistical compilation of all units or members of the target population under the survey. In this case, population relates to the entire set of observations connected to a particular study.
For instance, if students of a university have to give feedback on teaching faculty, the former will be held as the population of that study.
Sample method chooses the different sample entities from the targeted population. This method involves a statistical analysis of an already determined number of observations that is derived from a larger set of population.
Sample methodology can be used of different kinds; these can be – simple random sampling or systematic sampling, cluster sampling or stratified sampling, etc. among others.
Advantages of Census Method
Advantages of census method are –
Intensive Nature of Study
In-depth information related to an issue is covered, which helps in all-inclusive understanding.
For instance, in population census, apart from counting a number of people, other parameters are also considered, like age, sex, marital status etc.
Accuracy and Reliability of Results
Results are more reliable and accurate owing to the vast number of items that are taken into account.
Limitations of Census Method
Limitations of census method includes –
The expenditure incurred during census is much higher because of sheer size of the population. Also, data is collected from each unit of a sample population, which requires additional costing.
Huge Resources Required
Owing to the huge volume of data that is collated, a greater number of workforce (as well as man hours) is required for completion.
Advantages of Sample Method
The advantages of sample method are –
In the sample method, the number of units utilised is significantly less. It helps to arrive at results much quicker.
Sample method incurs substantially lower cost than census method as these tests are done over a limited sample.
Greater Ambit of Scope
It has greater scope than census method as it acts as a substitute in such cases where the latter becomes impracticable. For instance, if a manufacturer wants to test its range of toasters and other kitchen appliances, it will apply a sample method and not a census method.
Cross-checking Census Results and Follow up Measures
The nature of the sample method is such that it can be employed to check the results from the census method.
Also, due to the small size of its sample, the method is useful for cross-checking the reliability of its own results. A small sample can be taken out of generated results, and that sample will have to be investigated.
Limitations of a Sample Method
Limitations of sample method are –
Inefficiencies in Sample Selection
In choosing samples, there is a higher likelihood of biased selection. The investigator may choose such a sample that is favourable to him or her. Due to this, entire collected sample sets will not be an accurate representation of the entire population.
Difficulty in Selecting a Sample with all Characteristics
It is likely that samples may not retain all the characteristics of a population. The problem arises from the limited size of any sample.
In a small sample base, only a handful of characteristics will be exhibited.
Requires Expert knowledge and Training
The executors of sample method require training and specialised knowledge for conducting the survey. In the absence of knowledge of those special techniques, the exercise cannot be carried out.
Difference Between Census and Sample
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1. Why use a Sample Instead of a Census?
Ans. Sample may be used instead of a census on account of a number of reasons. Census incurs a huge amount of cost, whereas sample is far more economical. Census is a time-bound process, but due to the nature of a survey in a sample, results can be derived in a quick manner.
2. What are the Benefits of a Census?
Ans. Census has a wide range of benefits that include the nature of a study to be far more intensive, where it procures in-depth information on various parameters. The method by which each study is conducted ensures that the results have higher reliability and accuracy.
3. What are the Benefits of a Sample Method?
Benefits of the sample method include its expansive scope due to which it is able to cover more aspects. It also helps in instances where carrying out a census becomes impracticable. Cross-checking the data in the case of a sample method is easier given the smaller sample size. The extent of reliability of results can also be determined.