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Cluster Sample

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Cluster sampling
Cluster sampling is a sampling technique used when "natural" but relatively homogeneous groupings are evident in a statistical population. It is often used in marketing research. In this technique, the total population is divided into these groups (or clusters) and a simple random sample of the groups is selected. Then the required information is collected from a simple random sample of the elements within each selected group. This may be done for every element in these groups or a subsample of elements may be selected within each of these groups. A common motivation for cluster sampling is to reduce the total number of interviews and costs given the desired accuracy. Assuming a fixed sample size, the technique gives more accurate results when most of the variation in the population is within the groups, not between them.

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MONASH Marketing Dictionary

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Cluster Sample
a form of probability sample where respondents are drawn from a random sample of mutually exclusive groups (usually geographic areas) within a total population; also called an area sample. See Stratified Sample.

2004 (c) Copyright & Reprint Courtesy of the Dept. of Marketing, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University; edited by Mr. Don Bradmore.