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A beginners guide to confidence levels (02 Aug 09)

Some time ago I wrote an article about a local authority that had sent a postal questionnaire to all its 30,000 households.

They were worried in case they had wasted money in sending it to so many people, particularly as they only got about 200 back. 

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Comment by Paul Luton Borough Council — 01 Sep 09 at 16:52:37

This is a useful article that outlines why sample surveys can be more efficient use of resources that censuses and the role of confidence levels when reporting on statistics.

There needs to be further clarification on the relationships between sample size, confidence limits and the size of the population being sampled. One of the immediate criticisms of sample surveys is often "..but you only contacted 1000 people yet 200,000 people live here, your survey is therefore wrong".

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