STAT 506: Sampling Theory and Methods

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course overview

The aim of this course is to cover sampling design and analysis methods that would be useful for research and management in many field. A well designed sampling procedure ensures that we can summarize and analyze data with a minimum of assumptions and complications.

course topics

Topics typically covered in STAT 506 are basic methods of sampling and estimation including:

  • Simple random sampling with associated estimation and confidence interval methods,
  • Selecting sample sizes,
  • Estimating proportions,
  • Unequal probability samping,
  • Ratio and regression estimation,
  • Stratified sampling,
  • Cluster and systematic sampling,
  • Multistage designs,
  • Double or Two-stage sampling,
  • Capture - recapture sampling, and
  • Random response model

Here is a link to the Online Notes for STAT 506.


Calculus and 3 credits in statistics, for example, STAT 500 is recommended.


Required: Sampling, 3rd.ed., by Steven K. Thompson, John Wiley and Sons, 2012.

Optional: Elementary Survey Sampling, 6th.or 7th ed., by R. Scheaffer, W. Mendenhall III, R. L. Ott, Duxbury Press, 2005.


Students will need to use software to generate random numbers. This can be accomplished by using a statistical software package such as Minitab, SAS or R. See the Statistical Software page for details regarding these applications.

assessment plan

  • Homework Activities - 30%
  • Online Mid-term Exam - 30%
  • Project - 10%
  • Proctored Final Exam - 30%

academic integrity

All Penn State policies regarding ethics and honorable behavior apply to this course. Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution. All University policies regarding academic integrity apply to this course. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students.

For any material or ideas obtained from other sources, such as the text or things you see on the web, in the library, etc., a source reference must be given. Direct quotes from any source must be identified as such.

All exam answers must be your own, and you must not provide any assistance to other students during exams. Any instances of academic dishonesty WILL be pursued under the University and Eberly College of Science regulations concerning academic integrity. For more information on academic integrity, see Penn State's statement on plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

The Eberly College of Science Code of Mutual Respect and Cooperation embodies the values that we hope our faculty, staff, and students possess and will endorse to make The Eberly College of Science a place where every individual feels respected and valued, as well as challenged and rewarded.


Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office for Disability Services Web site at

In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact ODS and provide documentation (see the documentation guidelines at If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with your instructor as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester.

course author

Dr. Mosuk Chow is the primary author of these course materials and has taught this course for many semesters in residence and online.