Question

Parent opinion, part 1. In a large city school system with 20 elementary schools, the school board is considering the adoption of a new policy that would require elementary students to pass a test in order to be promoted to the next grade. The PTA wants to find out whether parents agree with this plan. Listed below are some of the ideas proposed for gathering data. For each, indicate what kind of sampling strategy is involved and what (if any) biases might result.

a) Put a big ad in the newspaper asking people to log their opinions on the PTA Web site.

b) Randomly select one of the elementary schools and contact every parent by phone.

c) Send a survey home with every student, and ask parents to fill it out and return it the next day.

d) Randomly select 20 parents from each elementary school. Send them a survey, and follow up with a phone call if they do not return the survey within a week.

This are the answers

  • a. The sampling strategy is involved voluntary sample. Only those who both see the ad and feel strongly enough will respond. Response bias due to desire to give acceptable answers.
  • b. Cluster sample: because one school may not be typical at all. Nonresponse bias might result.
  • c. Census: in which every parent of the 20 elementary schools will respond. It is a nonresponse bias.
  • d. Stratified sampling with follow-up. Should be unbiased towards one of the strata or another.

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