Skip to content

What to read on survey sampling

I am sometimes contacted by people who want to conduct a survey, or who are planning to teach survey sampling, and want to know what to read. I recommend two books.

For the statistical theory and methods of sampling: Sampling: Design and Analysis, by Sharon Lohr (Arizona State University). This is a great book, combining the practical orientation of Kish (1965) with the clear notation of Cochran (1977). No other book I know of comes close to Lohr’s. My only (minor) criticism of Lohr’s book is that, when it comes to some areas on the research frontier (for example, poststratification with many categories), it is not always clear that there are open questions. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few loose ends. I expect more of this will be in the forthcoming second edition.

For practical issues of conducting a survey: Survey Methodology, by Bob Groves, Floyd Fowler, Mick Couper, James Lepkowski, Eleanor Singer, and R. Tourangeau (Survey Research Center, University of Michigan). Lots of cool stuff, all in one place. These guys really know what they’re doing.

A third book that’s interesting is Analysis of Health Surveys, by Korn and Graubard. It has excellent material on analyzing survey data collected by others, a topic that does not get much emphasis in other books.

One Comment

  1. When I was looking at such things last year, I found Lohr's book to be the most frank about the limitations of survey sampling (and potential size of nonsampling error) since Deming's "Some Theory of Sampling"…