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Systematic sampling is the selection of every nth element from a sampling frame, where n, the sampling interval, is calculated as:

n = Number in population / Number in sample

Using this procedure each element in the population has a known and equal probability of selection. This makes systematic sampling functionally similar to simple random sampling. It is however, much more efficient and much less expensive to do.

The researcher must ensure that the chosen sampling interval does not hide a pattern. Any pattern would threaten randomness. A random starting point must also be selected.

See also: statistics, marketing research, quantitative marketing research, sampling, cluster sampling, multistage sampling, simple random sampling, nonprobability sampling, stratified sampling

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